As you may know, All in this Together started life as a voluntary, self-funded organisation run by the two of us from my kitchen table with the (co-produced) aim of placing co-pro principles at the heart of public services in Wales. And like Topsy, it just growed and growed. Over 450 of you from more than 200 organisations are now involved in some way; we are running conferences and workshops, giving presentations, providing advice, sitting on steering groups, publishing papers, developing and supporting the Wales Co-pro Network, connecting like-minded people and sharing resources and case-studies. All of which is entirely wonderful.
The problem is that we are still doing this on a voluntary basis, still sitting round the kitchen table, and still self-funding. The bigger problem is that our money has run out. Clearly, we need to move to a more professional footing, and we need to earn money. So…
a) We are applying for funding to the Big Lottery and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to establish AitT as an independent, sustainable members’ organization, a one-stop-shop supporting the development of co-production in Wales.
b) We’ll to continue to put on AitT events and seminars but, when necessary, we will charge for these in order to cover our costs.
c) Noreen and I are now working as self-employed co-pro consultants/trainers. This means that from now on we will charge a fee for consultancy work or speaking engagements. There will be exceptions to this of course, but if AitT is to flourish, we need to have an income. However, since we are convinced that co-production is the best thing since sliced bread, we will continue to do a pile of things on a voluntary basis: developing the Wales Network, raising awareness, connecting like-minded folk, collecting evidence, sharing best-practice and publicizing events.
And, given the ton of co-pro initiatives, projects and events that are happening in Wales we’re going to be sending out a monthly Co-pro Newsletter starting in March, to keep you up-to-date with the latest excitements. The Newsletter will be address firstname.lastname@example.org – so please check with your organisation whether this will be blocked by your firewall, and add it to your contacts list. If you don’t want to receive the Newsletter you’ll be able to unsubscribe at any time.
Onward, upward, and outwards!