RSLM : KAN Listening to people in Keynsham by Ron Payne

 

KEYNSHAM ACTION NETWORK may be difficult to understand because it  is not one thing – it is a Network, a weaving together of many ideas and aspirations, many groups and individuals.

A single hole in the net catches and holds the fish.

By itself that hole is useless, a nothing. To catch a fish, it needs the help of all the other nothings in the net.

A core activity within KAN is the weaving of the net. In Keynsham there are many people who deplore its current state, but by themselves they can do nothing. We want to listen to those people, to discover what their concerns are, to join together those with similar concerns to create a whole, which by working together can catch the fish they’re after.

 

We want to listen – because to deal with a problem you must attack its root. To achieve root solutions listening matters. This, shortened to RSLM, is a method used with great success by several organisations to tackle failing communities, and we have the backing of two of these, RE:generate in particular.

RSLM trains “listeners”. Our “listeners” have conversations with residents, guiding the flow of talk to discover their likes and dislikes about Keynsham, and whether they feel strongly enough to join with others in an Action Group.  The problem that the Action Group addresses is chosen by the Group, not by KAN, and the Group takes the lead in their chosen action.

As Action Groups form, one after another, they build up a Network which is capable of combined action to tackle larger issues, such as the status of Keynsham as a local centre, independent of Bristol and Bath. This will take time, but we have the example of RE:generate in Whiteway, Bath, and of Connecting Communities in Falmouth to assure us that change is possible!

Community Introduction

This part of our new website will aim to be part of our work connecting individuals with each other as well as connecting and empowering groups (of which there are around 200 in Keynsham). This will hopefully encourage a sense of belonging to combat isolation as well as bringing people together who have shared interests, concerns and enthusiasm. We will post a variety of material of local interest and hope to encourage participation from groups and organisations. We will also look further afield at what is going on elsewhere to see if we can learn from what is working (and avoid what isn’t!). We expect this to be an emergent process that will evolve over time. So please be patient and get involved!

“One of the marvellous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”

― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth