The UK Catalyst Awards have been announced and I’m just back from a buzzing morning of ideas and quality conversation.
The people’s choice award (with more than four times as many votes as the second place) went to the Freeconomy Community.
“The Freeconomy Community is a skill, tool, space and land sharing website to build closer, stronger communities through the power of sharing. Freeconomy is about sharing the skills you’ve learnt and learning those you haven’t. By mapping other members who are within 10 miles it makes it easy for members to locate one another in their communities and means that people develop new relationships with people who live near them. It has over 5,000 members and there are over 1,000 vetted skills and over 700 types of tools on the site. No money changes hands for this skills exchange as people share simply for the love of it!”
The awards were created to do three things;
1) To highlight and publicise the number of projects already in existence which use social media to encourage community action.
2) To inspire other to have a go at this kind of thing
3) To connect the shortlist and winners with the things they need to grow and succeed
Time will tell how successful we have been in doing these things. To have four ministers in the same room as leading activists, companies and funders is a hopefully a good start, and a small part of a growing movement in this area.
A year ago today the Catalyst Awards were an idea in a speech by the Prime Minister.
“…we must do more to move beyond old, dull and all-too-familiar ‘one size fits all’ solutions and we must do more to encourage a stronger culture of innovation to generate new ways of advancing social change.
To recognise and support new ways of utilising existing and widely-owned technology for social ends we will introduce a Prime Ministerial Award for Social Technology”
Just imagine what could be achieved by this time next year.