Supporting a critical mass of changemakers who want to, know how to and are free to contribute towards a Greater Manchester liberated by healing, justice, and equity

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What does a GM liberated by healing, justice, and equity look like?

Lankelly Chase has delegated decision making over its strategy and resources in Greater Manchester to GM Systems Changers.

We are a group with varied lived and learned experiences. We see our job as supporting a critical mass of changemakers who want to, know how to and are free to contribute towards a Greater Manchester liberated by healing, justice, and equity.

We’re doing this by:

  • Liberating/distributing resources to under-resourced people in communities, organisations, and networks challenging injustice and creating the conditions for healthier systems to emerge
  • Resourcing spaces for us to be in community together
  • Learning alongside and from each other about where and how people see healthier and more equitable systems emerging so that we can support the spread of this knowledge and practice

And as a group of people, we are deeply committed to living and breathing equity, justice, and liberation.

This is some of what is going on:

We have centred women and young people of colour, through the ‘spaces fund’ which resourced 39 grassroots charities, art organisations and community groups to host spaces to disrupt, heal or reimagine healthier systems. Following some serious listening and sense-making, we’re redistributing over one million pounds worth of follow-on funding to 30 of them.

We’ve hosted a Disrupting Narratives Lab with Culture Hack Labs, Whose Knowledge? and a group of creative activists who can now facilitate the process locally. We have a media partnership with The Meteor and are supporting Place-Cal to connect all these different groups together.

The Elephant Trails group has collaborated with The Guardian to become community reporters – you can see their film, Made in Bury here.

We continue to centre working-class women of colour (in the main) in all the work. This means we’re planning core funding to Mama Health and SAWN (Support and Action for Women’s Network) and a group of women leaders participating in an inquiry around ‘Feeding Our Resilience’.

There is an ongoing commitment to look for who’s missing from our networks, this means  connecting with Trans, Non-Binary, LGBTQ+ networks, people with disabilities and people with no recourse to public funds.

We will also be resourcing an inquiry where young people from the ‘spaces’ collective have the freedom to explore what they’d like to do together. We hope it will include Ubele along with 84 YouthBlack Youth ForumBlossomRekindleRoots, the girls working with Liz Mytton and Wonderfully Made Women, and the boys working with ZIWO and Pie Radio.

We will continue our work with policy makers, to ready people in commissioning roles to redistribute (financial) resources and give up power.

There is already a lot of thinking and doing happening around alternative/systemic governance models in GM with existing partners such as Our Agency, Elephant Trails and Wigan’s Neighbourhood Democracy Movement leading the way.

All this work is helping to create a critical mass of changemakers. People are already doing fantastic work, just so often massively underfunded, under-resourced, and oppressed by white supremacist systems.

Over the next year, the intention is to cultivate deeper relationships with all our partners and to see if we are a community, a collective, a network of networks, a self-organising system, even a movement.

Finally, we are planning a Festival in 2022.  We’re inviting ‘friends and family’ to this gathering. It will include people holding a variety of roles – both formal and informal – from across all parts of the Greater Manchester system. And…it will be a celebration…of all the people and the work they do, of the different knowledge they hold and perspectives they bring in. It will also be a place to strengthen existing and new connections between us all.

We really want to ensure that everyone in the community is free to decide where they want to go, how they get there, and what resources will be required on this journey.

For consistency, the GM Systems Changers team is committed to existing in our current form until March 2023. By then we hope this new and much bigger community will have identified a new form of devolved decision-making and governance.

Carrina Gaffney, GM Systems Changers/Lankelly Chase

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