03 / 03 / 21
This Spring brings an end to the Walsall For All Community Dialogue Project. Since it began in September 2019, the project has seen through the global pandemic – in delivery, an online redesign and three lockdowns! Needless to say, we are proud of all of the committed staff and participants who have persevered and continued to engage with the project throughout all of these changes and challenges.
As we head into March, we will be focusing on some digital art dialogue sessions with a local artist who will help participants engage with the project themes in a more creative way. We are also working with participants and partners, such as Near Neighbours and Transforming Communities Together, to explore ways to continue bringing communities together after the project has ended.
The project, funded by Walsall For All and The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, was designed to bring people together from different parts of Walsall to engage in conversations about identity, diversity, belonging and living together.
Volunteer Community Connectors from across Walsall were trained to facilitate a series of dialogue sessions between their own community and a group from another community. Throughout the different phases of the 18-month project, we have run 8 Community Connector Trainings, engaged 24 different groups, delivered 47 dialogue sessions and engaged Walsall residents at different points of the project.
Highlights from the project have included seeing friendships develop between groups from backgrounds that had never met before, connections that will continue beyond the end of the project. Similarly, it has been rewarding to watch Community Connectors develop their confidence in delivering online dialogue and also to hear how individual participants have benefitted from the social contact, learning and discussion provided by the project. Another inspiring outcome has been seeing how the Dialogue Project inspired participants to set up their own online initiatives such as groups and podcasts.
“It’s very, very nice to talk to strangers. You’d never discuss these subjects with the people you meet in the street and be completely honest!”