What is Visions for Change?

Visions For Change Norwich is a resource, started in 2012, for progressive groups and individuals, in Norwich and the surrounding area, who are working for a just and sustainable world. Its purpose is to enhance communication between the many such groups and individuals in the area read more... and make it easy for anyone, whether already in a group or not, to be aware of and contribute to the Norwich and district scene. Complementing web information with face-to-face informal circle discussion meetings is an important element of VfC's philosophy.
Motivation and history. VfC's purpose is to promote better communication between all in the locality. The ideas were kicked off by the drip-drip of revelations, notably from around the start of the new millennium, about the current state of the world's economy - its huge scale and its ruthless, greedy, risky, irresponsible and fraudulent character. read more...

Public awareness of these events led to protests, notably the Occupy movement. Norwich had its Occupy, which started in October 2011 and it brought together many people who would not otherwise have met and inspired many conversations and thoughts which would likely not have occurred. Yet within six months the world-wide Occupy movement had collapsed in confusion.

And the principal development in the world economic system has been to make open and brazen, what was formerly denied, that the poor are subjected to 'austerity' to give more to the rich and to provide insurance for the latter's high risk transactions. (Excuse us, we are angry.)

The current problems are not solely financial. Banking in general, terms of trade, fixation on growth (as measured in conventional economic terms), power hierarchies, wars, exploitation of the defenceless, rape of the earth - the list can seem endless.

It is in this context that the core idea of VfC was born. Over the last half-century the world has regressed, has moved away from even the level of justice and sustainability that existed before. So the efforts of those working for a just and sustainable world, while achieving some real gains, have been less influential than the neo-liberal agenda. Something new must be tried.

That new thing, and it is no doubt not entirely new but at least it is not widespread, is to put together the power of the internet, the need for a holistic view of current problems and the centrality of personal rapport and trust. VfC considers that putting these three elements together is a contribution to movement building.

VfC does not supplant or compete with the efforts of its contributor groups and events. Rather it strengthens them. VfC is about making the whole more than the sum of the parts.

Vision. VfC considers that vision, imagining a better world, is essential yet VfC does not intend to be the preserve of utopians or visionaries. read more... They are welcome, to be sure, but so are those with vision who work on a single issue or on a shorter term practical project. VfC intends to promote groups, events and individuals with a wide range of priorities.
What does VfC offer? VfC runs this website, with its Groups and Events lists, sends information by email and organises occasional discussion meetings. Subscribers can sign up for a weekly Digest of upcoming events (in the following two weeks). read more...

VfC also holds general meetings at roughly annual intervals (but not as formal as AGMs) in which the needs of the subscribers can be reviewed. More about this is explained in the 'How VfC is organised' section.

The website. VfC's website comprises two lists, a list of local Groups (which can include initiatives and projects) and a list of local Events which are for those who work to promote a just and sustainable world. We explain below how to post events and groups on the site. read more...

We are working to develop the website further, into a local networking platform for exchange of ideas and information. Occasionally important events further afield will be publicised, to which some locals may be anticipated to travel but in general the focus is Norwich and District.

The discussion meetings. Topic suggestions are welcomed.
What events and groups are acceptable? Any groups and individuals and their events working for a just and sustainable world are encouraged to submit. Government agencies (at all levels), political parties, organised religions and commercial organisations may not be in the Groups list but events which they organise whose primary purpose falls within the VfC remit will normally be accepted. read more...(By 'commercial organisation' we mean an organisation whose primary purpose is to make a profit. Organisations whose primary purpose relates to VfC's ethos are encouraged to apply to be on our Groups list; their charging fees to cover running and modest staff costs is not an obstacle.)
Ways of being involved:
--- by reading the Events and Groups information
--- by subscribing. Then you get a weekly email digest of upcoming events and occasional news updates
--- by registering. Then you can yourself submit events for listing
--- by participating in the (roughly annual) general meetings
--- by being one of the Steering Group
--- by helping with IT, publicity, etc.

Anyone may read the website information and attend and contribute to the discussion meetings. If you subscribe (a subscribe box is near the top right of most pages) you will be on our mailing list and may contribute to our, roughly annual, general meetings (more on this in the later section How is VfC organised?)

If, in addition, you register (a register button is in the top bar of most pages and you choose your username and password) you may submit notices announcing any group or event for which you are in a position to speak (we rely on trust for this).

How to post your group and events. If you have subscribed and registered (a simple three step process), and you want to add an event or group, first you log in. read more...

The Login button is on the top bar of most pages. Enter your username and password, select Groups or Events, as needed, and then press the Add a Group (or Event) button.

Fill in the mandatory fields and as many of the others as you wish (fuller information is in general better). Click on 'submit' at the bottom. You will get a message saying that your Group (or Event) will be added subject to moderator approval.

Moderators will be able to tell who created the event, so that they can come back with questions if something is unclear.

The Digest is mailed automatically early each Friday. Events submitted early appear on the website Events list and also in two Digests. If you make a submission near the time of your event, please do so by 5 pm Wednesday to appear in the next Digest.

If you have any problems, notice any bugs or want to comment on the website features, do drop us an email at mail@visionsforchangenorwich.org.uk

How VfC is organised. VfC is run voluntarily by a small group, the Steering Group. The current Steering Group was appointed by a general meeting of subscribers in February 2014. read more...Offers of help with IT, publicity, encouraging groups and event organisers to submit copy, and organising the discussion meetings are always welcome.

VfC is not a membership organisation. It is a resource, or facility, freely offered to the local community of those working for a just and sustainable world. Nevertheless the Steering Group wishes to be responsive to the needs of this community.

This structure has been worked out, after wide and lengthy discussion, as a practical way of allowing a small group of volunteers to provide a service, responsive to the community, yet effective; not overcome by the full bureaucratic apparatus suitable to a membership organisation. The structure is minimal and relies on trust more than rules.

Members of the Steering Group. The 2016 members are Vanessa Buth, Mark Crutchley, Mahesh Pant and Jo-anne Veltman. To contact VfC, email to mail@visionsforchangenorwich.org.uk