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Inspiring Women Talk: Ari Cantwell and Kate Swain on community organising

Women standing in front of table talking to the audience.
Woman smiling with dark hair and high bun tide up

The atmosphere was buzzing during the Redcatch community lunch. People from all walks of life gathered for delicious free Moroccan tagine and got chatting to their neighbours. As people spoke to each other, all kinds of connections, stories and knowledge emerged. It was amazing to watch happen and be part of.

Redcatch Community Garden

The talks kicked off with Kate Swain, who talked of how she co-founded Redcatch Community Garden. From a time where there was no running water, let alone Wi-Fi, Kate helped spearhead a garden brimming with events and services for the community. Coming from the private sector, where companies shielded their knowledge from competitors, Kate remarked how her new path was the total opposite: stressing the importance of knowledge sharing for community organisations. “There need to be more of us! You can take our risk assessments, or model, everything – go and start your own”.

Co-exist Community Kitchen CIC

When Ari started talking about Co-exist Community Kitchen CIC, much of her ideas were the same. She remarked how the top-down charity model is outdated; like a one-to-one relationship, reciprocity is the key for esteem and dignity. It’s about working together to create something – as cliché as that might be – people gain more from that than being treated as passive receivers. The audience were murmuring in agreement and nodding heads. It really seemed to strike a chord.

Reciprocity is key

This principle was demonstrated perfectly by the talk itself. When the talks and questions were over, the talk descended into a discussion of like-minded women, many of whom had their own expertise to offer. The atmosphere was excited, and people peeled off reluctantly, with a flurry of exchanged emails and expressed desire to meet again.

This made us really excited for our next Inspiring Women event, and the possibility of what amazing things can happen when we bring our energy together.

Find our full Inspiring event listing here.

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