Community Catalysts

One of the first things we did when we launched Ideas Test was to talk to local residents ­ via social media and at a series of events and public meetings ­ to find out who in their community were active go­-getters who wanted to make a difference, people who would become our Community Catalysts.

Nominated by local people, Community Catalysts would be Ideas Test’s eyes, ears and hands. Feeding back to us information about what kind of arts and creative experiences people in Swale & Medway wanted to see happening in their area, testing out ideas for making this happen, and influencing the way we made decisions.

We hoped to find 50 Community Catalysts in the first three years, but there were 85 people nominated in the first year alone, and 157 to date. Today, there are 93 active Ideas Test Community Catalysts: people living and working across Swale and Medway from all walks of life, ages and sectors. They range from Medway-­based 18 ­year ­old James Walsh (nominated at only 16), a hip hop dancer and choreographer; to Zimbabwean musician and Sittingbourne resident Lucky Moyo; and Betty Allsworth, an older woman who set up a community centre in Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey.

Our Community Catalysts have influenced what we do from the earliest days ­ ensuring our support is accessible to as many people as possible, making funding decisions, and reviewing and critiquing our activity. They have devised and led their own projects, and have informed and supported many others. Some of them have become part of our staff team.

As a diverse group, our Community Catalysts hold many different opinions and challenge as well as support us, which is invaluable in ensuring we are focused on the aims and outcomes of the Ideas Test programme at all times. This large group of independent individuals is deeply embedded in the local community in a way that no organisation could ever be, and as such is an essential component in helping us to create increased arts engagement in Swale and Medway.

To nominate someone you know to become a Community Catalyst fill out the form below.