What is Mend?
Mend is a social enterprise that has its roots in the “right to the city”, active citizenship and social capital traditions of urban and city studies.
We see the "Community as Client" and our motivation is to elevate the role of communities in decision-making about their local area and city. Our aim is to help local people participate more successfully in local place-making and planning processes and build trust and transparency. We help broker community permission for development and establish who the community client is.
At the core of our model is helping business understand the skills and talent in local communities, and enable businesses to work with local groups to achieve value gain for both sides. We help business develop smartly by using latent local knowledge and experience. We help stakeholders to maximise the benefits and opportunities arising from the regeneration process. We do this by helping communities and business unlock the social capital, resources and potential that already exists within the community with the aim of helping communities to help themselves.
What does Mend do?
Mend works with communities, businesses and organisations to enable them to work positively together to identify and deliver change in their local area. This includes advocacy and managing relationships between different stakeholders, helping stakeholders to navigate through the development and planning process, supporting the design, development and funding of community-led projects and helping business use their CSR budgets to deliver sustainable transformations.
Local communities are the experts on their own places…..
We foster positive relationships between design and development partners and a broad spectrum of people from across the community. This is achieved by focusing on developing the skills and confidence within the community to fully participate and have a meaningful dialogue. This is not just a consultation event but a relationship that extends into the lifetime of a project and beyond. This process builds local capacity but also trust in the funding and development partners.
Local communities are a wealth of untapped resource…..
The result is projects that are locally relevant, have greater local ownership and are sustainable. The social capital that is galvanized through this approach can be recycled as a valuable resource for other projects going forward – because the community sees the positive results of its own participation.
Benefits of our approach
· Enabling instead of leading the process - to ensure ownership and local pride in the end result
· Participatory design - supporting the community to take a stake in decision making
· Diffusing situations of conflict through open dialogue
· Creating new partnerships and unlocking resources that already existing in communities
· Allowing people to stamp their identity on a place - giving them more than the role of caretaker at the end of the process, but the role of designer, catalyst for change, community champion
· Acknowledging and valuing what exists and working together to realise joint aspirations
· Putting everything we do in the context of people providing for themselves and gaining confidence in their community
· Cultivating choice and opportunity and making places fit for change
What is Mend about?
Mend is about transforming places that are failing to meet local needs (through poor regeneration practice, multiple disadvantage, lack of community engagement) and enlists local people, capacity and existing organisations to help mend them.
Regeneration is not just about improving what a place looks like or its market value – it is also about improving the human experience of living and working there. Mend moves away from space as "container" - inert and waiting to be filled with stuff; to space as “active” - teeming with people, energy and networks.
We believe that the best way to regenerate and improve an area is to make best use of the people, spaces and relationships that are already there. We help mend the connections and attachments between people and their places.
Who is Mend?
Kate and Liane have worked in the regeneration industry for 20 years and set up Mend in 2010 to go beyond the traditional models of community consultation and give people a stake in their future through:
· creative and cultural responses to change including temporary use strategies
· the development of long term engagement strategies that go beyond the planning phase
· linking development with capacity building and opportunities for local people by through responsible procurement strategies and skills agreements
· social mapping and local area harvests to translate energy, activism and the work of local champions into a regeneration tool
· supporting local groups and communities to design their own projects, guide the preparation of bids and feasibility studies and
· brokering relationships between the third sector, public sector and the private sector to achieve shared objectives.