Back to the real world from something out of the ordinary: the rededication of an abandoned Prussian cemetery in a Polish field in an area once colonised by Germany - the burial place in 1916 of my wife's grandmother. The event was a model of 'community involvement'. The mayor talked of European solidarity and the need to rise above old animosities, the Catholic priest prayed together with his Lutheran 'bruder', the village 'headman' had rustled up a tractor to clear the undergrowth and reveal the old gravestones, there was an honour guard of scouts for the new commemoration plaque, candles and piles of flowers. Afterwards, tea and cakes in the local school.
The event was organised by individuals, not an organisation. In the lead was our friend Henryk Baronowski, a good example of current Polish vigour.
Fifteen years ago he was the only English speaker we could find in the then run-down inland town of Trzemeszno. (How had he learnt his fluent, but slightly old-fashioned conversational way with the language? He showed us his textbook, English for Ships' Officers.)
I was left wondering what were the 'measurable short-term outcomes' of this splendid little affair.
I am being asked to reply to an nfpSynergy survey on innovation. They are excellent people, but I think they have got this one wrong. The questions are mostly about 'teams' and 'projects', but that is not where I find most innovation. It seems to me to come more from individuals than from organisations. They may create organisations to put the new ideas into effect, but isn't that implementation rather than innovation?
It was nice to find in the in-tray the announcement of a whacking lottery development grant (almost £250,000) for Pecan, old friends of myself and my organisation. The Southwark-based charity is going to set up a network of furniture recycling projects.
Pecan stuck longer than any other charity I know of to the excellent but now unfashionable practice of everyone being paid the same, regardless of their position in the organisation. They changed to a more conventional pay structure only recently. I wonder if any other charities are operating like this?
New children's centres are being set up all over - great. But will they be run locally or will the pool be scooped by national charities? I have just had a call suggesting that it looks like there will be three bidders in Dartmouth - the Children's Society, Barnardo's and NCH. I do hope that this is wrong, or at least untypical.
- Luke FitzHerbert is senior researcher at the Directory of Social Change.