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Well haven’t we grown: A six-month look back at Just Act

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LizzyLizzy is Communications Assistant at the Community Development Foundation (CDF) and helps to run Just Act.

For those who haven’t been following our progress from the beginning, we’re pleased to announce that Just Act is now six months old. In this blog post, I want to talk a little bit about the steps we’ve taken to get this far and how we’re planning on keeping it up – growing both online and off.

Just Act is run by the team at the Community Development Foundation (CDF). As a grant funder, we talk to groups every day and noticed that community groups were putting in hours into improving communities, but the guidance you need to do it isn’t always so easy to find.

Getting ready to launch

So, that’s why we set up Just Act. We wanted (and still do want) to collate the best bits of help that are out there, all in one place. We want to showcase this in a way that’s easy for time-starved volunteers to find, and provide a space where you can chat to one another and ask questions.

Before we unveiled Just Act to the world, we travelled to the four corners (well, the nine regions) of the country finding out what community groups wanted from a site like Just Act. And we’ll be conducting more visits to projects to do some more research soon, but more on that in a minute.

Highlights from six months of community action

There’s new content on a weekly basis, the 10 Steps and Knowledge Bank are full of loads of useful stuff and we’ve now got over 200 resources. And counting.

We’re still committed to sharing what we think the best bits of support are. We send out our lovely Just Act round ups, firing teasers of our new resources to inboxes everywhere.

We’re still running discussions, where we invite anyone to ask a question or share their experiences. On hand to answer are our Community Champions as well as partners, experts and members of staff from CDF’s Programmes and Research teams. The discussions are a great place to pool resources and knowledge so that you don’t have to run your community group in a vacuum.

Highlights from the site for me include the one-to-one Q&A session I ran with Craig Hilton. Craig’s journey was pretty impressive; he’d made the transition from substance abuse and homelessness to volunteering in his community, and then making his life’s work encouraging others to do the same. (If you’re intrigued, you can see the highlights of the Q&A in this blog post).

In the prize draws we run to say thank you to our Community Champions for sharing their sage advice we’ve been able to encourage more great community action offline. This includes providing refreshments for the Friends of Hopwood Park’s park clean-up project (pictured).

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Greatest hits

In the six months we’ve been live, we’ve been keeping an eagle eye on what sort of stuff people are after. It’s been fascinating to see what resources community groups look for – and we’ve learned that the early stages of setting up a project are consistently popular. Resources like Free Survey Software and how to Bring Your Neighbours Together are amongst our all-time most-wanted.

So, what’s next for Just Act?

It’s been a great six months, but we’re not done here.

We want to continue finding out from you, the ones running the groups, what encouraged you to get involved in your community. To get this research under way, we’re hitting the roads again.

Over the next few months, we’ll be visiting community groups all over the country to find out why you started your group, what sort of support you want from Just Act and how we can improve the site to fit with exactly what you need.

If you’re interested in the Just Act team visiting your group, just fill in this short form and I’ll be in touch. Or if you’ve any questions, you can contact Lizzy at communications@cdf.org.uk or give me a call on 020 7812 5431.

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