At the end of August the Co-Engage project will come to an end and last week saw out its final meeting, hosted by our Polish partners in Warsaw. It was a somewhat sad end to the project for PVM as we were unable to travel for one last in-person meet-up and, instead, had to settle for dialling in on Zoom.

As we move towards the final reporting stage, we also look forward to the publication of the project’s e-book, which we will link to on this blog as soon as it’s available.


A collage of posters promoting the MESS project

People’s Voice Media has been supporting MESS to produce their videos by coaching them in video production, editing and distribution techniques. One of the MESS members is a Community Reporter and wanted to use her storytelling skills to share her own story and other MESS members’ stories about why they were involved in environment work.

Marple, Mellor & amp; Marple Bridge Energy Saving Strategy (MESS) is a community project in Greater Manchester, UK. It began 10 years ago with the aims: to promote carbon reduction, raise awareness of climate change issues and find local solutions to some of the resulting problems.

MESS, like the rest of the world, is concerned about the impact of Climate change on our planet and is trying hard to raise these issues with world leaders and those in positions of power.

There is a big Climate Change Summit taking place in Glasgow, Scotland this autumn called COP26. (Conference of Parties). This is to bring world leaders and interested parties together to discuss how to address the environmental issues that are devastating our planet.

MESS has made a series of videos to go to our government to inform them what we, at a local level, are doing what we can and are asking COP26 to listen and act now, to save our planet from destruction.

If you would like to see the videos and the work of MESS please see their website here.

You may also think about writing to your own MP with your concerns or perhaps consider joining an environmental group or start your own – If we all do a bit, it will add up to a lot!


The final Co-Engage lab took place in Toulouse at the end of July. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus travel restrictions, Sarah and Georgia from PVM had to attend online, but that didn’t stop it being an enjoyable few days.

The lab focused on the topic of condominiums, with participants working with case studies and co-design practices to solve problems for fictional residents and owners. Hosted in an actual condominium complex by our French partners, we had the opportunity to see an example of such a residential development, as well as meet stakeholders.

As online participants, it was great that our hosts had thought about a way to include us more fully in proceedings as well, giving us specific tasks and a proper roll in the lab, enabling us to have a great time and produce something of value.

With Co-Engage coming to an end later this month, we’ll be able to share the project’s e-book and results with you soon.


Last month we worked with the Women’s Voice Movement and Inspiring Change Manchester to look at the different types of strengths that women have as part of a Conversation of Change event.

Over the last year, we’ve been working with women to gather stories about their experiences of the pandemic, some of which you can listen to in this short film. From these stories, we could hear how women were talking in different ways about how they have got through lockdowns, how they have supported others, how they have supported themselves and other related topics. This led us to think about how can we highlight the different strengths and capacities that women have and how can we ask services to think differently about how they work with women?

With this in mind, we invited women from across Manchester and people working in services that support women to an online discussion about the strength of women. From this discussion, we identified that the women in the stories we listened to:

  • have lots of ability and skills but find it hard sometimes to identify them or speak about them publicly
  • are good at adapting and finding ways to get through tough times
  • really resilient and can change direction when needed
  • value having spaces to stop, think and reflect
  • are great at supporting one another
  • value connections – including with individuals, services and their faith – when facing difficult times

From this, we began to explore what services and we could start to do different to work with women’s strengths in more meaningful ways. Ideas such as reframing questions that services ask women about their lives from ones that always focus on negatives, to ones that identify strengths and creating flexible spaces were women can talk, share experiences and reflect with others about how to address challenges they are facing were discussed.

The group of women behind the workshop are now in the process of making plans to continue this conversation and take some of these ideas forward into action.


Ever thought about what is driving change in the world? Ever thought about what that might mean for how our communities, societies and world might look?

These are the kind of questions we are exploring as part of the EUARENAS project that is looking at how people are involved – or not – in democracy, decision-making and change processes. As part of this work, People’s Voice Media is leading a set of future-thinking activities. We’ve started by looking at what we can learn from conversations happening in the media now about what the future of our communities, cities and societies might look like.

To help us in this, we’ve recently run an online workshop for people from across Europe in which we’ve been exploring questions such as What does the future look like for societies, communities and people across Europe? How can citizens and their voices be more active, included and represented within governance and decision-making arenas? Where are our cities and democracies heading?

In this workshop, we looked at snapshots of media content – videos to written articles – and identified some key messages in them. These included, views that were critical of the European Union’s democratic faculties, how climate change is a key challenge and we must start to act now, the acknowledgment that human rights issues and discrimination against minority communities must be addressed equally across Europe and a general pessimism about society’s current state (i.e., many inequalities). 

Based on this, we thought about what were the key drivers of change in our societies, and came up with some suggestions:

  • COVID-19 has accelerated change in certain arenas – i.e., working from home, less travel, more use of digital technologies to connect people 
  • Potential legislation in countries like the UK around protests and journalism could lead to negative changes in how people engage in democracy and civic discussion 
  • A resurgence of neighbourliness and local connections as a result of COVID-19 may change how we participate in our communities and create change where we are 
  • Technology – such as social media – is contributing to a ‘cancel culture’ that could be detrimental to providing space for conversations and different perspectives to be explored 

These findings – and others from the EUARENAS project – will be brought together into an insight briefing later in the year. When we have it all ready to go, we will share it with you on this blog.