Compact Chair and EVOC Convenor, Jan-Bert van den Berg gives his end of year reflection on Edinburgh Compact and looks forward to what can be achieved in 2019.
We should not underestimate the power of communities in providing us with the answers in addressing inequalities. In the Compact, the third sector comes together with colleagues from NHS, the City Council, Fire and Rescue and Police to explore how we can work more closely together to address the pressures faced by those who experience poverty and health inequalities.
It is a worrying state of affairs that a city as rich as Edinburgh still experiences the level of inequality that it does. Schemes to change this come and go, often little changes in the global figures.
Why is this and what can we do to change it?
We need to continue to make sure that those affected are directly involved in shaping the solutions. Too often we, with all the best intentions, do things to people rather than with people. Recent initiatives by the third sector, with its Commission on Prevention, and the city council, with its commission on Poverty, are working towards a different way of involving people.
It is a good start, however the proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. How we act on the experiences we hear about and how we will involve people in creating the solutions is what ultimately will be important. We have been talking a lot about doing things differently and the conclusion to that is simple. Recognise the power of people and communities, realise that the solutions they find are often the most effective. Those solutions might not always fit neatly into the systems that we have created or the strategies that we have carefully crafted.
It is our willingness to adapt and work across disciplines and boundaries that will make the difference. The Compact is ready for that challenge and looks forward to a productive new year.