In a very short time What Next? has grown and expanded from a few people round a table in Southwark to a project encompassing hundreds of individuals and organisations. The development of What Next? has been completely organic and, in many ways, colleagues involved have deliberately resisted the urge to take a traditional route to forming a coalition, to working together or to lobbying for change.
It started with leaders meeting for an hour every Wednesday morning. They quickly came up with all kinds of ideas none of them had had on our own. They invited specialists to talk to us: community leaders, politicians, funders, academics, business people. Similar meetings started to happen in Manchester, Liverpool, Coventry, Sheffield, Cambridge and Cardiff. There are now over 30 chapters across the country.
They think it would be great to stay connected but we don’t want to set anyone else’s agenda. They have found that if these meetings are held in a particular way – open, positive, collaborative, forward looking, and of a limited size – a particular ethos emerges. They’d like to try to pass this on.
Anyone can join a chapter. Simply find a group you’re interested in and connect with them. Where possible they have provided details of when and where each chapter meets on the Whats Next site. But this varies throughout the year, so please use it as a guide, and contact the chapter chair to confirm details of upcoming meetings.
If there isn’t a chapter in your area all you need to start a What Next? Chapter is the motivation to bring about change, plenty of passion and energy and a little bit of time.