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Community Issue 3

Why does
Community Matter?

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Abid Hussain

Director, Diversity, Arts Council England

Community is a celebration of the power of people coming together, it is about shared purpose and the capacity to accept and embrace our differences. It serves to amplify our voice and our ability to effect and influence change. It nurtures our humanity and fuels a selfless drive to want for others what we want for ourselves.

Robert Winder

Trustee of Migration Museum and author of The Last Wolf: the hidden springs of Englishness

The word ‘community’ is often used to describe a group of like-minded souls connected by bonds of race, faith or culture. But it is just as useful to think of it as the opposite, a place where people of different backgrounds and beliefs can find ‘common’ ground. The more the word is used in the first sense, the more important it feels to emphasise the second. The former imagines life as a club; the latter, perhaps, as... society!

ARGH KiD

Poet

What makes a community are the people who act on their social responsibility to make their area better. There’s a misconception that community is ‘a given’, whereas in reality it needs to be worked at. Ironically, the people who tend to moan about their neighbourhood seldom try to do anything to change it.

David Walker

Bishop of Manchester

Community matters because it creates space within which we can pool our talents, support one another in our weaknesses, be enriched and challenged by those different from ourselves, look after our shared belongings and reach out to those beyond our boundaries.

Adele Blakebrough MBE

CEO, Social Business Trust

Too often we hear about communities being broken and a lack of community spirit. But every day in my work, I see fantastic examples of people coming together in communities, both geographic and interest-based, whether in person or digitally. It’s inspiring to see so many imaginative, grassroot responses to social problems. Far from waning, I think community spirit is strengthening.

Samantha Stapley

Foodbank Network Operations Manager, The Trussell Trust

Our network of over 420 foodbanks provided almost 1.2 million three-day emergency food supplies to people who would otherwise have faced going hungry in the last year. That demonstrates the incredible power that communities have to make a difference when they work together. Thousands of ordinary people up and down the UK are donating food and volunteering at foodbanks because they are determined to stop people in their area going hungry.

Katherine Hibbert

Founder and Director, Dot Dot Dot

To build a community is to build a web of loose ties among people who may not know each other well, but who have something in common – living in the same neighbourhood, liking the same sport, sharing the same beliefs. Each of those weak links may not count for much, and each individual may not contribute a lot, but put together it’s a network of people who can band together, help each other and create real change.

Bex Stinson

Head of trans inclusion, Stonewall

Community is about looking out for one another, standing together and speaking out against inequality in whatever form it takes. It’s also about supporting people who are marginalised and discriminated against and working to create a society where people are accepted for who they are, without exception.

Rob Irvine

Editor in Chief, Manchester Evening News, which kick-started the ‘We Love Manchester’ appeal

At its best, community is both global and local. It can be limitless and is not easily defined by geography, religion or ethnicity. We also learned during the terrible events in Manchester that community has long, strong arms which can hold us all secure in times of crisis and, even in the midst of the deepest grief, work its magic and help to begin the healing.

Saleh Saeed

CEO, Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC)

Communities find their strength in people coming together, sharing and finding that they can be stronger together. This is particularly so at times of major disasters when new communities of generosity are formed to help those suffering. Such communities may not last long, but their collective contribution can provide lasting and powerful benefit.

This article appeared in Issue 3 - Community

Download issue 3