Case Study: #wewillgather goes to Parliament

#wewillgather is a new platform to help people organise “good things” in their local community, leveraging the power of their online social networks.  The site has been running for a few weeks now so we thought it was time to show it off to the great and the good. So that’s how Dan Thompson and I came to be suited and booted at the Houses of Parliament on 15th October.  The event was kindly sponsored by Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale.  We were really pleased though to find wide support from MPs who wanted to talk enthusiastically about what we’re doing.  In the end we had glowing endorsements from the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, Stella Creasy and Tim Loughton and a stirring tribute to the joys of guerilla gardening from Hazel Blears. Alongside politicians from across the spectrum, we welcomed leading lights from the charity and voluntary sectors including the Round Table and Volunteering England.

#wewillgather does one thing very well - it helps people get other people together at a specific time and place in order to do something.  We’re neutral on what it is or how it’s organised or how many people you invite.  People have used it for communal gardening, litter picking, meetings of all sorts. The site is integrated with Twitter and Facebook to help people get the word out about their event.  And it’s easy to start something new.  If you’re inspired while out walking the dog to do a litter pick/jam-making festival/old-time sing-song and you have your smartphone with you, you can send a tweet containing the hashtag “#wewillgather” the postcode of where your event will be and the word “help”.  So “#wewillgather B5 help” will work perfectly well though if you want to say more, you can do. The system will see this, set up an event page for you and tweet back with a URL for you to go and fill in some more details.  That page will appear in our listings of local things to do but it’s also up to you to share the link around as much as you can to let others know what you’re up to. But it isn’t just about getting things done.  We’re just as interested in creating social opportunities for people to speak to their neighbours, get to know each other and build links for future activities as we are in whether the park looks nicer.

For example, when Louise Oldfield organised the weeding of a rose bed in a square in Margate,  five people turned up with bags, gloves and tools in hand. As well as weeding the bed and dead-heading roses, they chatted about new things and learnt of other events to go to. Passers by stopped and asked if they could be involved in future gardening events. A series of three couples sat on the opposite bench for a while and each one made a comment at how much better it looked and said what a great idea it was. #wewillgather is a project organised by Revolutionary Arts LLP with funding from the Cabinet Office’s Innovation in Giving Fund which is managed by NESTA. We’re now looking for opportunities to grow the number of events and the number of people taking part, both organically, through people taking part in one event starting one of their own, but also through partnerships with organisations who already support volunteering. 

Please contact Dan or Lloyd if you want to help us grow.

Authors: Lloyd Davis
Topics: Security
Filed Under: Champions