The Big Society Network

exists to support and develop talent, innovation and enterprise to deliver social impact.

By working with business, philanthropists, charities and social ventures we believe we can unleash the social energy that exists in the UK to help build a better, healthier society.

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Knowledge sharing and networking at the Big Society Awards, 2012

Two words: ‘Recognition’ and ‘Networking’. That’s what the Big Society Award winners told us they are hoping to gain from the awards event at 10 Downing Street and from being a part of the Big Society Awards community. The message to us was clear: community organisations want to show what they’ve achieved, and the impact they’ve had on their communities. But they also want to hear from other organisations like them, to share knowledge and make connections.

“We want to hear from others who are experienced in delivering the Big Society on the ground” Said Paul Blakey from Street Angels, a Christian nightlife initiative whose volunteer project has cut nightlife violent crime in half, in the town of Halifax.

This sentiment was echoed by the other winners, including Barry Graves from Serve, a Northamptonshire based charity who provide vital care and support services to vulnerable members of the local community:

“It would be useful to meet other 3rd sector organisations who have taken contracts with the NHS like we have…and I’d like to pass on what we’ve learned, which is really about perseverance and determination”.

So with the event at 10 Downing Street tomorrow, that’s what the team here at the Big Society Network are working towards. The Awards Day will be all about recognition and networking. The award winners will be greeted by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who will be hearing personally from the winners about their work and their plans for the future. They will also have a chance to sit down and share knowledge and insights with the other winners, in a professionally facilitated networking session in the afternoon.

But we’re also keen to use this opportunity share some of these organisations’ wisdom with you, our blog readers. All of the award winners have gained a huge amount of expertise in what they do, so with this in mind we’re asking each of them to share their top tips for other community organisations. The responses coming in have been really insightful, particularly around engaging with volunteers:

Gateway 97.8, a community radio based in Basildon say,

“Don’t be exclusive. But be inclusive. Our success is down to tailoring to our volunteers’ requirements. Everyone that comes through our door is different. They all have different tastes and needs and we tailor their experience to these”. Wise words for anyone working with volunteers in their community.

Watch this space for the 2012 Big Society Awards Website, launching soon.

Please note this is a closed event for Big Society Award winners only. We look forward to sharing updates with you shortly.

For press enquiries, please contact press@thebigsociety.co.uk or call 07795 445197

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