Over the last six years, Lankelly Chase has partnered with incredible individuals and organisations across the UK working to support people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage.
Again and again, our partners told us that power was at the heart of their work.
On the one hand, there has been a constant stream of evidence demonstrating how people facing disadvantage felt their power to make personal life decisions is taken away from them. People working with support systems felt powerless to make widespread systemic change. The power dynamic between funder and funded organisation stopped true collaboration and the power dynamic between a person facing disadvantage and their support worker stopped a healthy relationship developing. These patterns in the distribution of power often reflected the wider structural inequalities in society.
On the other, our partners were more conscious of these power dynamics and have been experimenting with ways to disrupt them. They broke down social and professional barriers safely. They treated the people they worked with as resourceful, building relationships, coaching, asking questions, learning, growing and adapting in the process. Through this, they were finding ways to nurture healthier power dynamics and shift power so that everyone’s voice could be listened to and valued.
These insights correlated with research emerging from our place based work and so we began to develop our system behaviours including ‘sharing power and equality of voice is promoted,’ whilst simultaneously asking what does this mean for us as a foundation?
Over 2018 we are exploring how we share power amongst people who are currently marginalised in society. We are continuing to work with our network of partners, learning through their experiences. We are drawing on the rich work that people have done over generations before us. We are also commissioning our own work, having conversations using different methods to understand what power means to people and to uncover the assumptions we all have about this issue. Finally,we are continuing to understand how we can share power, promote equality of voice and create mutual accountability here at Lankelly Chase. We will be sharing our work over the year here.
If you would like to get involved in this inquiry, please contact Jess or Joe.