Community Innovation & Systems Change: #1 Education at the Heart – Wasafiri Consulting


Community Innovation & Systems Change: #1 Education at the Heart


APRIL 26, 2021

Community Innovation & Systems Change: #1 Education at the Heart

If the following rings true, then this blog series may be for you.

I am working my hardest to create the change I wish to see in my community, but it feels like I am fighting against complex and powerful forces that are beyond my control, hard to comprehend and constantly changing. I am disheartened that I never see any real or lasting change.

That feeling of swimming against the current is all too common for people and organisations working towards sustainable change in their communities. The cause of this frustration is often not because the change models you are using are wrong, but because the majority of them have not been created to deal with problems that are complex and evolving by nature. Nor have they been built to create system-level change.

That sentiment is what drove the school leaders of Reach Academy Feltham, an all-through school that has 900 pupils aged 2 to 18, to try something different. Their view was that a child’s chance for opportunity in life is often affected by things that are outside the remit and scope of the school. Therefore, quickly following the school’s opening in 2012, they established the Reach Foundation to fund and deliver activities for children, young people and families beyond the gates of the school. However, they recognized that efforts to tackle recurring problems for children and young people often fail, not due to a lack of passion or effort, but because the individual responses are too isolated and static to influence the current systems and structures around educational institutions in a meaningful way. Thus, inspired by Strive Partnerships in the US, the Feltham Convening Project was born to have local education professionals and community members drive change beyond the reach of the academy and foundation, and do so in a way that shifts the engrained and hard-to-see patterns that affect the lives of young people in Feltham.

The Feltham Convening Project (FCP) is a 7-year project that aims to use systems-based approaches to deliver substantial, sustainable improvements to the lives of local children, young people and families in the Feltham community.

Join us on this series of blogs, as we capture practical insights and experiences to drive discussions and learning for people curious about systemic approaches for community-led initiatives.

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