Esther Foreman: equipping new community group leaders to respond to the pandemic
There are currently over 3,300 community-led groups in the UK responding to the effects of the pandemic and supporting their communities. Many of these emerged during the pandemic, with hundreds of mutual aid groups being created almost overnight. These new grassroots groups and their leaders had to respond very quickly to urgent need, without many foundations in place and often little or no experience in how to seek funding, raise awareness of their work or reach their wider community.
Esther Foreman from Brent in London is the founder and CEO of The Social Change Agency and The Social Change Nest, which offer consulting, training and communications help to movements creating social change. She is also co-founder of her local mutual aid group. During the pandemic, her organisation has supported over 300 new community leaders and groups across the UK to raise and manage finances transparently inside communities.
She will use her grant to expand this work, providing long-term support for these and other groups, through creating a national network of new community leaders to share experiences and learn from each other. Additionally, she will develop online resources and provide training on how to build local funds, manage volunteers, work with the voluntary sector, run food banks and more. She hopes this will lead to an increase in community-led resilience. Esther's Churchill Fellowship to Australia, Canada and New Zealand in 2013 explored how activists can use their personal experience to effect change.