Our Way Ahead (OWA) is a pan-London meta-network, the members of which range from voluntary organisations to community sector networks and associations, diverse in their organisational structure and assets, but sharing a desire to see civil society flourish via a radically different, collaborative, grassroots-led way of working.
Decisions have been taken in the name of communities without their involvement, poverty pervades ever deeper, inequality is rising, and lives have been lost as services fail those most vulnerable. Our vision is to ensure that grassroots communities have a meaningfully powerful agency in the response to issues that affect their lives. It is those at the level of grassroots communities, the direct burden takers, who are best placed to lead the push for change, and the OWA Planning Group seek to work in solidarity with them through the facilitation of critical dialogue and storytelling, mapping of community activity and the support of collaboration on campaigns among groups within like communities of interest.
A core purpose of the network is connection of the broad range of community assets and talents that exist in London, to benefit from the value that comes from supporting one another’s campaigns. Through various forms of technology and events, the OWA planning group will look to facilitate this connection and collaboration.
We are motivated by principles of justice not charity and believe issues of oppression can only be solved in a systematic and structural way. We understand that oppression has many overlapping causes and characteristics but believe that it is ultimately created and perpetuated by inequitable relationships of power and is a direct consequence of social, political and economic choices. Therefore we will grow our own power and trust in one another to create an alternative and fairer London.
Our purpose is to build our voice as people working in local communities, so that we can realise our enormous collective power and create a stronger collective voice. We want to challenge ourselves to link up, as a network of networks, and undertake shared action on issues we identify together, bringing to the table issues that need addressing, and sharing in one another’s capabilities with an aim to helping those most in need.
We want to build accessible digital community platforms, research and map grassroots community activity, to facilitate collaboration, strengthen local platforms and spaces for action and build the voice of those at the grassroots level. The OWA Planning Group work collectively in solidarity with local campaigns to build a grassroots movement for social justice in London and the immediate hinterland of communities affected by the state of affairs London.
Our most recent cooperative action was as planning group for the #ourwayahead event at London Met University on July 12th 2017. See link below for more information.
The Our Way Ahead Planning Group member organisations:
London Voluntary Service Council
Community Centered Knowledge
Community development Network London
The Ubele Initiative
Women’s Resource Centre