Kindred Chair Jas Bains shares his round-up of 2022…
Attempting to navigate circumstances shrouded with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity is a tough call for every individual, organisation, corporation or governments. Kindred is not immune from these changes and has had to constantly challenging itself to stay true to purpose, mission and goals.
Last year was a transitionary process as the new board members fully assumed the Power to Change legacy. We welcomed new people and said farewell to old friends as part of the adjustment.
In looking back but also mindful of the future, given the operating environment, there have been occasions where organisation resilience and courage has been tested to the limits. As tempting as it was to pull back or postpone having an ambidextrous organisation approach has helped when managing the downside but continuing to pursue the upside. However, that is not to say certain things have not stalled or been postponed. Equally, the mark of a good, successful organisation is knowing when to say No. We did ok!
One of the challenges ahead will be to reconcile the demands of an innovative, progressive programme with growing interest in Kindred across the UK and internationally. It is a source of immense pride that respected, influential organisations are actively seeking partnerships and collaborations. Neither should we shy away from the potential, but equally this can only be done credibly, legitimately with an appropriate infrastructure and only when we are confident it would not be to the detriment of the existing remit and programme. I am confident both aspirations can be achieved but will need careful design, planning and the consent of investors and communities of interest.
As custodians of a largely public funded programme, supplemented by charitable monies it is right to focus on good governance. There is much to celebrate with good systems and processes in place as well as embracing the Nolan principles. What pleases me equally is the way the organisation views governance beyond its classic definition. Without a commitment to open governance in which collaboration, sharing, transparency between actors towards a value network and eco system, the engagement of the broadest coalition of interests would not be feasible. On an everyday level, this is the very thing that creates conversations, possibilities and makes the art of doing stronger. For the people of the City Region, this culture provides the entry point to explore the unimaginable and externally a route for interested parties to want to collaborate.
While the jury remains out on the Levelling Up agenda, Kindred has emerged as a positive example of regional economic renaissance that flows seamlessly between community, state and markets. Such a situation has not happened perchance but emerges from a growth in the renaissance of participatory models of social change, lending voice to the importance of a bottom-up led approach. However, it is important to acknowledge that without the social investment market, investment and infrastructure the impact would be considerably lessened. So, thank you to the UK Government, City Regions, local government and the social investment intermediaries for assisting the cause. Now that we are here and here to stay however with wider recognition and support the significance could be genuinely transformative. As intermediaries ourselves we are natural arbiters, platform developers for exchanges of opportunities, consensus builders that can help create flexibility within rigid systems. But, best of all, we are trusted by the people who matter.
Over the next year we will continue to do our best for the people of the City Region and endeavour to fulfil the hopes and expectations of investors, stakeholders and partners. This will see an even greater willingness to collaborate at all levels, and to welcome keener input into decision-making, strategy and investment. It’s quite a tall order for a relatively small organisation, but by refusing to be precious and staying humble, anything is possible.
Finally, my extended gratitude to my fellow voluntary board members for their unstinting support, inspirational leadership of Jennifer together with the behind the scenes supporting cast, and to the likes of Steve Rotheram, Joanne Anderson, DCMS Friends, Esme Fairbairn and Power to Change. And, finally, and especially, to the many STOs who are flourishing and the many more yet in the making.