Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, last week presented The Future of Doing Good in the UK report to a very interesting and challenging audience of philanthropic institutions, third sector leaders, research institutions and public bodies. Written by Sonia Sodha, Chief Leader Writer at the Observer, the report aims to spark conversations across civil society about how people and communities can be best supported to achieve remarkable things in a rapidly changing context.
The report is very relevant for us as it refers to The Young Foundation’s powered Amplify Northern Ireland programme as an “innovative approach to the state taking a liberal interpretation of what it means to do good at the expense of other notions of doing good”. Sonia Sodha understands that Amplify Northern Ireland (and in our opinion Amplify Leeds, Sheffield and Amplify Cymru) “seeks to involve communities much more in defining the vision for what would improve lives. Amplify has aimed to build a movement of people to create positive social change.”
Applying a movement-building approach to place-based transformation contributes to reframing the way social innovation speaks. All voices matter, power relations become more democratic and complex, and ambiguity and failure are experienced as a natural components of the journey.
The nuances of local cultural contexts needs to be merged with evidence-based social innovation practices but only “deep listening and treading lightly” can provide to local challenges the possibility to be positively merged with local aspirations and tangible actions.
We are convinced that Amplifying existing and new solutions under a common transformational narrative provides more positive and tangible results than traditional methodologies. By integrating and amplifying local innovations under a social movement, we are also better positioned to foster systemic responses that will address the structural causes of inequality.