We have all heard the adage if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but what about ‘do your maintenance and protect your asset’?  

Inspiring Communities is not broken. After 15 years we have a lot to be proud of – we have contributed to building the community-led development movement across Aotearoa through our efforts to build capability, create and share resources, and encourage collaboration.  

But we are also aware that nothing stands still. As the wider eco-system shifts, we need to continue to evolve and adapt to support the changing challenges facing local communities and the systems they are part of.

Over the past year, we have been undertaking a review – what is working well, what needs tweaking, and what you, our stakeholders want and need from Inspiring Communities for the next 15 years.

We set about doing some maintenance to protect and strengthen Inspiring Communities.  

One message we heard loud and clear was that Inspiring Communities is still a relevant and valued part of the wider system of community-led change, but that we were spreading ourselves too thin by doing too much. That lead us to refining and simplifying our approach, our messaging, and our range of activities.  

Our new vision is an Aotearoa where all communities are at the centre of creating and implementing change to improve their own hauora. 

Our mission is to build a platform for successful CLD in Aotearoa at both community and system level. 

Inspiring Communities defines community-led development (CLD) in Aotearoa as an approach to improving hauora (wellbeing) of the local community by embedding Te Tiriti, activating diverse local leadership, and implementing solutions that build on the strengths of that place.

We remain fully committed to promoting community-led change in Aotearoa and see the tweaks we are making as steps to sharpen our focus, to areas where we are uniquely placed to support CLD and influence system change. 

Our new goals are: 

  • Building Capability: Providing training and sharing CLD information and resources to enhance CLD skills and knowledge within community. 
  • Evolving Knowledge: Generating new insights and resources to continually advance understanding and approaches to community-led development. 
  • Influencing Change: Championing CLD at a national/system level to establish an environment that enables community-led approaches. 
  • Ensuring Sustainability: Upholding strong governance connecting strategy and operations, while achieving financial stability and upholding Inspiring Communities reputation and credibility.

Alongside these strategic changes will be a fit-for-purpose structure of our Board and leadership team. This will mean setting up new roles with specific responsibilities to lead across our goals. The new structure and roles are also about succession planning, as some long-standing Inspiring Communities leaders have signaled it is time to pass on the baton to the next runner. So expect to see further changes soon as we recruit for new leaders who will be critical in implementing our refreshed vision.  

We are still a small organisation with big dreams, and now we have the next pathway to achieving those dreams mapped out!  

Change never happens by sitting back and doing the same thing. Change happens when we are courageous enough to try something different.  

And if status quo is not going to get the us outcomes we want – for Aotearoa, your organisation, or your community – what can we do about that? We can dream big, we can try a new approach and we can be part of the change. 

I’m proud of the changes we are making at Inspiring Communities. We didn’t keep doing the same thing because ‘it wasn’t broken’… instead, we are having a go at doing something even better.  

Thank you to the great team that have put so much effort and heart into this change process.  

And thank you to all our stakeholders – the funders, the participants, the conveners, the collaborators.

Together we can make Aotearoa a place where all communities are at the centre of creating and implementing change to improve their own hauora. 

Donna Provoost, Inspiring Communities Chair

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