What would you choose, oranges, apples or lemons?

This blog summarises what Barking & Dagenham Giving’s Steering Group did in their first workshop on 25th November 2021.

In the first of 9 workshops a Community Steering Group
Community Steering Group (CSG) A group of local people who give their time and ideas to make Barking & Dagenham Giving’s community-led investment fund a success, now and for future generations.
(CSG) of local people explored their values and began to consider the kinds of issues and organisations they are inclined to support. The CSG made up of 12 people from across the borough will work with us to change the future of funding in Barking & Dagenham. They will meet monthly for 9 months, to co-design the investment policy
Investment Policy A strategic document that outlines how an organisation will manage their investment assets (the “Portfolio”), with often a set of financial (and sometimes impact) objectives and boundaries.
for our Community Endowment Fund, as well as the framework for our other funds. Members will draw on their experience of Barking & Dagenham to shape the funds
FundA way for people to combine their money and invest together.
and use decision-making techniques and tools to find a way forward that includes all voices in the group.

Members are accountable to the community for the decisions they make together, and this blog helps to make their activities accessible and transparent to everyone who has a stake in the borough. Read on to find out what they got up to!

What happened in Workshop 1

The first workshop was facilitated by social investment
Social InvestmentIs the use of repayable finance to help an organisation achieve social impact. The investment can take various forms, commonly a loan, or debt type form with interest, and is often used to develop new or existing activities that generate income. The requirement to finance a loan usually means that the investment should not be used as a substitute for a revenue stream; if an organisation is not trading it may not have a way of repaying the money and therefore should not consider taking on social investment.
experts, the Curiosity Society. Lara from Curiosity Society opened the session by saying:

This is trailblazing! Very few people have ever walked this path before and because of that there are very few maps. What we are going be doing in the first few sessions together is build a map to help you navigate around the world of social investment. What is more, because this is so ground-breaking and very individual, you are going to have to build that map yourself. Our job is to help you do that.

The group took part in three exercises, via Zoom, using a tool called Mural which allowed us – with a bit of instruction – to collaborate online as if we were in the same room. 

First Lara asked members to select which two of the themes from the LBBD Borough Manifesto they personally would prioritise and to think about why those two themes meant the most to them.

For the second exercise, members were asked to choose the two themes that they would prioritise if they were choosing for their neighbours rather than themselves. Interestingly, just one participant retained the same two priorities they’d selected in the first exercise. 

When we looked from our personal experience it was from my work which led me to housing here I am comfortable and have direct opinions....[when thinking about my neighbours]…I took a more general view - one for the many … and shifted to safety.

The image above is a screenshot taken from Mural of member’s reasons for selecting the priorities they did for Exercise 2

Investing in oranges, apples or lemons

The final exercise, called The Big Picture, gave members a chance to make theoretical decisions about where to invest their own money. It took place in three stages, with Lara from Curiosity Society revealing more information, about three anonymous organisations she’d given the pseudonyms “Oranges” “Apples” and “Lemons”, at each stage.

You can see exactly how this exercise took part by doing it yourself. The results of the Big Picture exercise remain anonymous but if you take part, you will see how other people voted. So, which would you choose; Oranges, Apples or Lemons? Take part in the quiz to find out:

What next for the CSG?

The next CSG members workshop takes place on 16th December. Before then the members have been asked to do some reading and learning about social investment (the process of using financial resources to achieve a social outcome, as well as a financial return).

Workshop 2 will also be facilitated by The Curiosity Society who will introduce participants to their Bullseye Model for making decisions about social investments and will help them evaluate the strength of various funds and investments in line with their priorities. 

If you would like to find out more about the CSG or the Community Endowment Fund you can contact Cameron Bray at hello@bdgiving.org.uk or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop with all of our work in the brough. 

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