Community Conversations

A large number of informative Community Conversations have taken place across the country during Responsible Business Week (24-28 April).

The first Community Conversation, organised by BITC, was #cumbriahour on Monday 24 April. Hosted by Katie Harper, Business Connector, Cumbria, the conversation took place on Twitter during the weekly Cumbria focused social networking hour #cumbriahour. Local businesses, charities, community organisations, and individual digital social networkers in Cumbria were among those who took part in the #DigitalRB and #RBweek conversation.

Katie Harper said; “I was really pleased with the mixture of people who got involved in the conversation. Some shared what they have done recently which will hopefully have inspired others as there are so many ways businesses can support and engage with their communities. Some shared opportunities to get more involved, which was also great to see.”

The Sustainable Investments: Prisons & Communities Conference brought together almost 50 representatives from business, government and community organisations to share ideas and best practices for supporting offenders to successfully re-intergrate back into society.

It was held on Tuesday 25 April at the BT Centre in London’s Newgate Street, and was led by Business Connectors Maria Desmond (Business Connector for Leyland) and Vikki Bendle (Cornwall).

The conference brought together a wide range of organisations including The Ministry of Justice, Department for Work and Pensions, Prison Radio Association, Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Independent Monitoring Boards and Interserve among others.

A series of panel discussions were held throughout the day. Sessions included the role families in the rehabilitation process; the benefits of employing ex-offenders; and Innovation and entrepreneurship.

Dominic Headley, from Nacro’s resettlement advice service, and James Knox, from Ricoh UK, took part in a session hosted by Jessica Rose, Campaign Manager for BITC’s Employment for Excluded Groups campaign who are behind the BITC Ban the Box campaign.

Jessica Rose commented: “The loyalty that employers get from people who have been given a second chance at life after prison is huge. 97% of offenders want to stop offending; 67% say employment is a key factor in this..it gives people hope to know they can get work on release.”

On Thursday 27 April, Trevor Edwards, BITC Business Connector for Great Yarmouth facilitated a Community Conversation event, bringing together a number of organisations from across the district as part of the Great Yarmouth Dementia Action Alliance. 

Trevor facilitated the event and undertook two presentations on “Why have a Dementia Action Alliance” and “moving the Alliance forward”.

The group made a number of key decisions and arranged a further meeting in 3 weeks’ time to coincide with Dementia Awareness Week, in order to maximise press coverage, invite further organisations and businesses to join the Alliance and finalise a steering group and chair. 

Many more Community Conversations took place throughout the week. Follow the #GiveandGain hashtag on Twitter to discover all of the highlights on social media.