Stay in touch & more

Skills Camps Make the Papers

Our first Skills Camps sessions started off with a bang. For a few moments at the beginning, we paused to reflect on how much this moment means for us — that it is not 'just a programme'; it is about transforming people's lives and learning all the time how to improve the way we do it.

"I do not want to be a prisoner of my past" said one participant as he enrolled. The course is about liberating people to be more of who they are, to reach the labour market, and to learn to help others to do the same. We are with the participants every step of the way.

The Social Startups Labs that follow, are about a strength-based approach but applied to the community through the creation of startups — using an enterprise approach. "Use what you have, to apply it to what you need", is the thread that runs through it all.


Martin Murphy : An Enterprising Vision for Communities of Untapped Potential


The act or power of sensing with the eyes; sight.
The act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision; the vision of an entrepreneur.
An experience in which a personage, thing, or event appears vividly or credibly to the mind.

"By 2030 the majority of businesses in and around 'deprived communities' are run on a cooperative or social enterprise model, are incentivised to recruit locally, and allocate a proportion of their profits to the regeneration of the local community – in consultation and collaboration with that community."

When someone says that they "have had a vision", in the past tense, in my mind it refers to some form of perceived clairvoyance on the part of a person in receipt of a revelation that is unique only to that individual; that being, in essence, something I can not share in, something I do not understand or necessarily believe in myself and therefore something that is far removed from my own concept of reality. However, when someone is heard to say that they "have a vision", in the present tense, the word suddenly takes on a far more palpable, arresting and therefore believable meaning. When looked at in this context, it really is quite amazing how much difference a single word can make when your mind perceives the potentially hidden meaning behind a simple statement.

The vision quoted above, which serves as an introduction to an article written by Martin Murphy entitled 'Encouraging Social Enterprise In Deprived Areas' and consequently published on The Guardian website at the end of September, sits firmly with the latter belief; that belief being a tangible conviction that can be viewed subjectively without any hint of being unrealistic or limited to the view of a single person. It is a compelling vision that can be shared amongst many people, considered scientifically and therefore existing as an idea that is potentially achievable through a collective investment in a common cause. It is this belief in a common cause that is a driving factor behind the work of London Creative Labs in striving toward creating a self-sufficient and sustainable economic base for 'deprived' communities all over the country, starting from the ground and working up together, as a community.

Click to read more ...


London Riots and Youth Unemployment: Sinking or Swimming?

I wrote the following previously unpublished blog post last February, but in the wake of the riots in London last weekend this seems timely. Even though the behaviour of the rioters was undoubtedly criminal, that doesn't mean there isn't an underlying sense of grievance over socioeconomic exclusion motivating them.

Woman pushing a pram past a damaged shopfront in Brixton after the riot

Recently in the process of doing some research, I came across a book called Not Quite Adults which addresses the changing pathways to adulthood being taken by today’s young people. According to this book, what appears to be arrested development or “failure to launch” may actually be a sensible strategy for navigating the cultural and economic forces shaping our complex society. I’m not going to elaborate on the book’s main thesis here.

What struck me was the book’s metaphor of swimmers vs treaders. Swimmers have invested enough in themselves educationally and their careers in order to successfully obtain and hold on to well-paid, highly-skilled jobs. Whereas treaders have prematurely taken on the challenge of marriage, children and a job to pay the bills before they have reached a sufficient level of educational and professional attainment thus becoming trapped in poorly-paid, less secure jobs.

What this metaphor doesn’t address is the truly wealthy and the truly poor. Let’s call them flyers and sinkers respectively. In the UK, the term commonly used by institutions for sinkers is NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training).

Click to read more ...


Loughborough (Junction) has Spoken!


Back in January and February, London Creative Labs did a couple of events in association with the Capital Community Foundation who are a grantmaking foundation in South London. They are currently working with donors in supporting work in the area surrounding Loughborough Junction in Lambeth, for the benefit of the community. This is a rundown, deprived area with lots of social and economic challenges. These events provided an opportunity for residents, businesses, local community groups and service providers to help identify ways in which any future investment could benefit the area and improve people’s lives. As ever, we posted the harvest from those events shortly afterwards, and are now linking to them from this blog.

Loughborough Speaks!


Nearly 50 local residents, community activists, public sector workers and councillors mapped assets, needs and opportunities of the Loughborough Junction neighbourhood using an enhanced version of the Bigger Picture mapping process from our Social Startup Labs toolkit. Then they discussed the underlying themes with a focus on coming up with solutions. Read more about Loughborough Speaks!

Loughborough Speaks Again!


Over 20 local people considered the solutions from the previous event, came up with their own solutions and explored those solutions in more detail. Read more about Loughborough Speaks Again!


December Open Space Roundup

Open Space at Stockwell Park Community Centre

Back in December, London Creative Labs did a couple of Open Space events in association with Lambeth First who are the Local Strategic Partnership for the London Borough of Lambeth. We posted the harvest from those events shortly afterwards, but we never got round to linking to them from this blog. So we're taking the time to remedy that now. We had a lot of learning which we'll share at some point here on the blog.

Stockwell Park Open Space


Over 40 people, local Residents, staff of Lambeth First and local agencies came together on 14th December at Stockwell Park Community Centre to address the following question: "How can we work together for the benefit of everyone in Lambeth?". You can find out what happened here.

Tulse Hill Open Space


Similarly over 25 people, local Residents, staff of Lambeth First and local agencies took part in an open space on 16th December at High Trees Community Centre in Tulse Hill with the question: "How can we work together for the benefit of our neighbourhood?". You can read all about it here.