ProjectChange is all about building community; it is at the heart of everything we do. We work to celebrate the diversity that the care community has to offer and create a space where anyone interested in care can belong, and if they wish, work collectively for positive change. This is more than systemic; it is about changing the culture and the way we perceive care and the care community.
ProjectChange is all about building community; it is at the heart of everything we do. We work to celebrate the diversity that the care community has to offer and create a space where anyone interested in care can belong, and if they wish, work collectively for positive change. This is more than systemic; it is about changing the culture and the way we perceive care and the care community. Yet community means something different to us all. So, what do I mean by community? And what does the care community mean to me?
Community feels like an easy enough word to define. I think it means a group of people coming together with a shared interest, goal, or background. It is about solidarity and support, leaning on others when needed and holding out a hand to those when they need it: a two-way street.
What is my community?
Where do I fit in?
Where do I belong?
I think this is something we all struggle with: a sense of finding somewhere to belong and understanding how our identities and experiences relate to those around us. It’s daunting, but the ambiguity of a community can also be empowering. Community should be what we have in common as well as what makes us different. It has to be an open and fluid term, centred on inclusion and celebration; inclusive of many factors, be that lived experience, background, gender or hobbies and interests.
We can often struggle with labels and the feeling that all the different parts of us are competing for top spot. But in those moments, I try to remind myself that I am not defined by any single thing or by any single identity. And yet, these things all play a role in making me who I am.
I struggled at first to figure out quite where I would fit within the care community as I do not have lived experience of care, but the community is so much bigger than that and I do have a place in it. I’m here because it is important.
I care about making a difference. Everyone should have the opportunity and space to have their potential realised, defining their own life. It is important.
Working towards building community, empowering people to help themselves and lead change from the grassroots. This is important.
I’m here because it is all important.
I care about care – and wanted to do what I could, bringing my own skillset, to the role, to make sure The Promise is kept.
Finding my place within the organisation, as well as the wider community, came with it’s own unique set of challenges. ProjectChange was a challenge quite unlike anything you’d usually come across. It was a wholly different experience with the whirlwind that created it just starting to settle. The organisation was growing and blossoming into a new chapter. I needed to come into something completely new, in a completely new organisation, with a completely new role, with a completely new approach and ethos.
Starting any new role can be a daunting experience, especially a first graduate position after university, in the midst of a pandemic, within a very small and relatively new organisation. I have a feeling this is not uncommon – we all grapple with those feelings of insecurity and of sometimes feeling out of our depth in new environments. But there was excitement and a freshness that was welcome, especially when it came to shaking off the cobwebs that had gathered during the many lockdowns and disruptions to our lives.
ProjectChange was something else, and I mean that in a good way.
In spite of these challenges, I wanted to get stuck in and make the most of the opportunity I had been given to help develop the toolkit, meet new people, and immerse myself within the community. This was made so much easier by the support offered not only by Adam, but by the board and by people from across the community. I am inspired by the love and enthusiasm that exists across this community and the push for radical, world-leading, change. Being able to engage with people from a vast, immense, diverse range of organisations demonstrates how far the care community goes and how the collaborative spirit pervades, especially the toolkit group.
As a member of ProjectChange, and of this community, I have met some absolute powerhouses and the environment has been teeming with a desire to collaborate and share to Keep the Promise.
Fundamentally, community means care. It means inclusivity and embracing our commonalities and celebrating our differences. Understanding our role in our communities can be difficult and can often change depending on where we are in our lives. But over the past seven months I have grown in my role and in my understanding of where I fit. I am here to listen and to learn from experts who have a different lived experience from me, so that we can learn from each other and apply. It makes me sure we can bring people together and build community through collaboration, friendship and unity.
Together is the future.