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>Bassac Obama

>Thursday 27th February

The second and the last day at the Bassac conference has seen more handheld device action. (I have also since found out that the electronic pads used for the voting are owned jointly by the Development Trusts Association and Urban Forum, who lease them to other organisations, in case anyone from the sector is interested…)

This time Andrew Robinson, director of CCLA Investment Management Ltd., was chairing a vote on whether organisations think they exist to achieve change…43 per cent strongly agreed and 42 per cent agreed slightly less strongly.

Bassac’s voice and impact manager (sorry I don’t know what that job would entail) – to gasps of shock from delegates – said she disagreed that this was why her organisation existed. “Organisations don’t change things, individuals do,” she said righteously in an almost feel-good moment.

Others had a more complicated view of change. “It’s not all about achieving change. Sometimes it’s about maintaining what exists, like community buildings.”

With all this talk of change it was only a matter of time before Barack Obama’s name was mentioned.Sadiq Khan, under secretary of state for the Department for Communities and Local Government, was the first. He called Obama the world’s most famous community organiser. Only three people turned up to the first community meeting Obama organised in the ghettoes of Chicago, Khan told the sector as he encouraged it not to lose heart in current times and reminding it how valuable it is, in the hollow and bland way that politicians can.

But maybe Khan’s a little different….he had time to hug community organiser extraordinaire Rita Patel, who set up the Peepul Centre in Leicester, upon his speedy exit. Maybe this shows genuine intent by the government to work with the sector more closely?But was it a one-off or would Kevin Brennan do that? He’s speaking this afternoon, so I’ll let you know…

Originally posted at 15.57

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About Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Herpreet Kaur Grewal is a newspaper-trained journalist, editor and commentator. She formerly wrote and edited a section for the social policy and politics magazine Regeneration & Renewal. She has worked for The Times of London and her articles have featured in The Guardian, The Observer and The Daily Express. She specialises in social deprivation issues, gender, human rights , arts and culture.

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Herpreet Kaur Grewal is an editor and journalist currently based in London.

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