Barnet Together Alliance Conference 2023: Pioneering a Thriving Borough
In a resounding display of community unity, the Barnet Together Alliance Conference 2023 unfolded as a monumental success. Held within the Boroughs largest museum, the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon, on October 2, 2023, the event was a an opportunity for the local Voluntary Community Faith and Social Enterprise Sector (VCFSE) to network, share and have necessary if at times uncomfortable discussion.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Barnet Together Alliance partner Barnet Council for their support of the event. A special thank you to Vallectric for sponsoring the marketplace and a wider thank you to all the strategic partners who supported the marketplace and the breakout events.
With the overarching theme, "Stronger Together: Addressing Inequalities in Barnet to Create a Thriving Borough," the conference welcomed a diverse assembly of participants. Their common goal? To explore and address the pressing issues of inequality within the Barnet community. The event embodied the spirit of unity and collaboration that defines Barnet Together.
The event was inaugurated with keynote addresses that resonated deeply with the audience. Janet Matthewson, CEO of Young Barnet Foundation, extended a gracious welcome to all in attendance, setting a hopeful tone for the day ahead. John Hooton, CEO of Barnet Council highlighted the importance of the event and how Barnet Together brings the community of Barnet together from across the Borough. Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK, and Jose Acuyo, the Head of Population Health Commissioning, provided authentic insights that left the audience inspired and ready for the journey towards a more inclusive Barnet.
Following these thought-provoking keynote speeches, attendees delved into a series of morning breakout sessions, each offering a unique lens on the pursuit of a more equitable Barnet. The "Find Your Organisation's Voice" workshop, conducted by Media Trust, explored the power of communication in the fight against inequalities. Attendees learned strategies to amplify their organisation's messages authentically, fostering meaningful change through storytelling.
Another enlightening session, "The Barnet Upshot Project," unveiled the potential of Upshot—a data-driven tool for measuring and demonstrating program impact. Attendees were empowered to streamline data collection, analysis, and reporting, equipping their organisations to drive change effectively.
For those seeking financial support, the "Meet the Funders" session provided valuable insights from renowned funding organisations, including John Lyon's Charity, the National Lottery, and City Bridge Trust. Delegates described these interactions as both inspirational and informative.
Amidst discussions and networking, a pause for lunch was graced by the harmonious melodies of Angie of Angie's Keep Calm and Sing, al local community initiative using song as a way to improve breathing and mindfulness. Her performance served as a reminder that unity and harmony are vital components of any thriving community along with a sing-a-long to lift everyone up for the afternoon sessions.
The afternoon brought a fresh wave of engaging breakout sessions. "Equalities: Championing for Change in Barnet" fostered dialogue centered on the experiences of Somali communities, refugees, asylum seekers, and young Black men. Participants collectively envisioned a more equitable future and outlined actionable steps for positive change. Delegates found these discussions particularly inspirational, as they reflected a shared commitment to drive change authentically.
In another session, "LBB: Using the Barnet Census Data," attendees delved into harnessing the power of census data to combat societal inequalities. Expert guidance on census data analysis provided attendees with valuable tools to drive positive change, and they left the session with a renewed sense of purpose.
Once again, "Meet the Funders" sessions offered an opportunity to engage with funding organisations, including Barnet Council, Crowdfund Barnet (Spacehive), and Groundwork London, leaving delegates with a sense of hope for future projects.
The culmination of the day featured speeches from influential figures who reiterated the importance of equality, diversity, and inclusion in Barnet's future. Deborah Blyth, George Nicholls, Katrina Baker, and Janet Matthewson left attendees inspired and determined to carry forward the torch of positive change. George explored the need for community allyship whilst Deborah’s spoken word piece on race both gripped and moved the audience. Katrina and Janet as two leads within the Barnet Together partnership wrapped up the afternoon looking at key takeaways from the event, what action is needed and solidifying a need for action and not just words. Delegates described these closing speeches as inspirational, marking a fitting end to an authentic and empowering day.
A Regal Conclusion
As the event drew to a close, attendees were invited to join Cllr. Zahra Beg, Barnet Cabinet member for Equalities and the Voluntary & Community Sector for afternoon tea with a number of charity trustees along with The Worshipful the Mayor of Barnet Councillor Nagus Narenthira. A fitting conclusion to a day of enlightening conversations and promising connections.
A Beacon of Hope
The Barnet Together Alliance Conference 2023 showcased the unwavering commitment of the Barnet community to address inequalities and create a thriving borough by working together.
As we reflect on this remarkable gathering, optimism fills the air despite the challenges we face. The connections forged, the ideas shared, and the collective commitment to equality and inclusion have set the stage for Barnet's promising future. United in purpose, attendees left with a renewed determination to work hand in hand, forging a stronger, fairer, more connected and vibrant Barnet for all its residents. In the words of one delegate, "Today was truly inspirational, a testament to the authentic desire for change in Barnet."
Now let us work together to put discussions into action