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Locality ’17

Locality is one of DTNI’s sister organisations (along with Development Trusts Association Scotland and DTA Wales) dedicated to developing a network of community organisations throughout England and building strong local economies there. DTNI recently brought a delegation to its annual convention in Manchester to find out what the latest community innovations are there and how we could apply that learning back home.         This fantastic two-day event brought together community organisations, local government members, co-operatives and funders to hear inspirational stories and share expertise. Keynote speeches on day one featured, among others: Melissa Aase of the University Settlement Society of New York, an organisation that provides housing and social services to immigrants and low-income families; and Anoushka Deighton speaking about the transfer of Stretford Public Hall from Trafford Council to the community.                                        Arguably the most popular feature of the convention was the excursion, twice daily, to one of six community-led projects in and around Manchester: Kersal community Wetlands; the aforementioned Stretford Public Hall; community-owned leisure centre, Love Withington Baths; Victorian youth club and musical landmark Salford Lads’ Club; and Back on Track Manchester, a catering and training enterprise for people struggling with addiction or homelessness. And despite an interesting programme of workshops and fringe events that Locality hosted, the experience of visiting these organisations and listening to the people involved in them provided more learning than a thousand words spoken in a conference room. Our job now is to find stronger and more effective ways of working with our counterparts in Great Britain, in order to inspire and open possibilities for local initiatives here in NI