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The Power of Listening: Reflections on a Year of Membership and Outreach Work.

By truly hearing what our members say, I have built trust, established meaningful connections, and made a positive impact. From gaining valuable feedback and suggestions, our team is growing and developing further resources and support to promote change and build capacity.  

My name is Gosia, and I am the Membership and Outreach Officer at Community Southwark. It’s my responsibility to ensure that your membership experience is smooth and beneficial, helping your organisation grow and succeed. In 2023, I had the privilege of meeting with existing and new members guiding them on the wide range of free resources and support available to our members. Below are my reflections on this journey. 

As the world becomes increasingly connected, it’s easy to forget the importance of simply listening. In today’s fast-paced society, we often rush to speak our minds or push our agendas without genuinely hearing what others say. However, over the past year, I have understood the incredible power that listening can hold, particularly in membership and outreach work. 

Working in membership and outreach has allowed me to engage with diverse individuals and groups. From community leaders to grassroots activists, I have had the opportunity to connect with people from all walks of life and hear their stories, struggles, and triumphs. Through active listening and engagement, I have gained new perspectives and insights that have broadened my understanding of the diverse communities our members represent.  

In May, I had the pleasure of meeting Martin and Rosie, who have embarked on an ambitious project called Satsuma Neighbour. Their project, inspired by their son, aims to positively impact the lives of people with learning difficulties.

Despite having yet to gain any prior expertise, their passion and determination led them to seize every opportunity that came their way, including a visit I offered. They have since undergone training and attended 121 support appointments to help them establish a solid foundation for the organisation’s governance and future funding. 

By truly hearing what our members say, I have built trust, established meaningful connections, and made a positive impact. From gaining valuable feedback and suggestions, our team is growing and developing further resources and support to promote change and build capacity.  

When open and willing to learn from others, we also acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers and that there is always learning for growth and improvement.  Our role in the ‘funding differently’ grant pilot has allowed us to bring people together to make decisions, learn what works and what could be better.  In September, we met with groups to agree on the grant-making process for the 2nd round, which launched on the 30th of October:

“Everyone was given a fair chance to air their views; organisers worked hard toensure they were understood and included everyone’s comments and input into the meeting – no one was left behind. There is clear transparency and equal treatment. The grant’s theme was clearly explained, and there was consensus in reaching conclusions.”

“I liked the fact we was able to give feedback, bring organisations together and learn from each other.”​

Reflecting on my experiences over the past year, I am grateful for the lessons learned and the growth opportunities that have come with them. I am reminded of the incredible power of member organisations and the positive impact that they can have on our communities and our world. Moving forward, I am committed to continuing this journey and using my work to amplify the voices of others. 

In conclusion, I urge everyone to take the time to listen to those around them genuinely. By doing so, we can build stronger, more connected communities and work towards a brighter future for all. 

If you would like to arrange to meet with me at a time convenient for you – either in-person or virtually – please do get in touch by email gosia@communitysouthwark.org or call me on 07599 653 482.