More Dreaming  

Northern Heart and Soul CIC dream of becoming a connected, healthy, wealthy and powerful community with self organising and renovating principles at its heart.

We believe that: “The Neighbourhood is the primary unit of change.” Cormac Russell

We sense this is possible as communities from all over the world are walking this path. Returning home to a more just future. The essence of home is deep within all our bones, from our ancestral lineages. Even if we haven’t experienced home, we deeply long for it.

On this journey, here in Wigan, we want to make new mistakes and centre those who have been most harmed on the journey to now and try new ways of doing things, some of which will work and some that will fail. We’d like to leave the place a little better for those who journey after us. We know it’s essential to journey in this way if we are to transition into a post capitalist world.

There’s a window of opportunity for shift making, whilst the pain of injustice and the joy of connection are still vivid memories from the global pandemic experience

Each community, every neighbourhood, has its own life; its rituals; its traditions; it’s intergenerational trauma, and, its life giving and healing ways of being.

Here, in this local community we’ve been asking what we might notice in a connected community. How we might know that we are contributing to one. Every community will notice different things as their community becomes more connected. The more we look the more we will notice things we hadn’t seen before, just like the imagination muscle grows the more you use it.

We’re starting out by looking out for and noticing these 10 things as signs of a community that’s becoming more connected.


People Will Say They Feel Like They Belong And Have More Friendships

They’ll be open to being in the company of people who think, look or act differently than themselves too. We know this doesn’t happen by itself, so there’ll need to be some open social spaces like Camerado public living rooms, where people can get alongside each other using the Camerado principles

We will hear more and more people saying things like this.

I've enjoyed getting to know different people. Cos there’s a lot of people who I would never have thought I’d sit down and have a conversation with. It’s nice to get to know different people. It opens up different things


Associational Life Will Grow

When you discover and uncover what matters to people, what they care about that they’d like to act upon, what they are good at that they’d like to share with others then people want to get together and do it, especially when they know they are part of a group. A community growing connection would see the growth in associations as a good measure of a connected community. The more people getting together, the better!
The Dream - 02 - Associational life


Mutuality and Reciprocity

A connected community knows the value and importance of mutuality and reciprocity. It creates spaces for that to naturally happen and understands that sometimes the best medicine in the world is each other. When mutuality and reciprocity grows then outdated charitable models disappear. Feeding each other replaces feeding the needy.

We’ll hear more and more people saying things like this.

The groups I’m usually drawn to are sewing groups. Here, it’s more about life experience and we’re all offering each other support without actually realising that we are doing it. Recipes, trouble at school - advice and support. Everyone is so different and we’re all the same - everyone is just trying to get through life the best they can.

The Dream - Mutuality

In a connected community, people and families have the courage, support and space to talk about their differences and are prepared to listen to each other and agree to disagree over a brew and a biscuit. Connected communities have places where people can go to resolve family and community problems together and talk openly about what causes hurt and harm and what really matters. This is seen as a function of a community rather than an immediate referral to a professional. That might happen when the work of community is exhausted.


Children & People

Raising children is seen as the job of the village, the commoners who live here. Sometimes there might need to be some extra help, but when the work of the community is done. One of the things that we are beginning to notice as we talk and listen, is that children and young people feel like their freedoms are restricted, that parents and carers are worried about their safety. Something else that adults are becoming aware of, is that they as adults are less present on the streets, than the adults were when they were growing up. 

The Dream - Young People


Culture of Kindness

The culture of kindness would be rooted, rather than random, so you’d notice how much giving, sharing, recycling and lending goes on in the community. If you had too much of something, perhaps you’d share it with someone who didn’t have enough- like bikes, cars, gardens, grannies and grandads. People wouldn’t see the point of everyone owning a lawnmower or a drill and there’d be places to borrow things from that you don’t need to use every day.

I’ve noticed people are friendlier. Whether that’s just me because I’m recognising more people. On the page I lot of people sharing business recommendations, signposting to services, giving things away. Nothing seems to escalate on the group. It’s a friendly group.



You’d see lots of parties, celebrations and sharing of good news. Community events galore with lots of different people involved in organising them. A connected community would be asking, who’s not here? Who do we see in the streets, but not at the parties? They’d be knocking on with invites. There’d be more street parties, more play streets and more use of common spaces, whether that’s taking care of a grass verge or organising a game of rounders in the park.

Last two or three years there’s been more of a community sense. People are seeing that the community is doing things for itself. You see people and say hello who you’ve seen at a different community things. People feel less threatened and more of a bigger group when they see each other after a community event.

We’d be good at sharing what people do in the community, with good local news that holds up and celebrates our strengths. We’d pat ourselves on the back. Working collectively on local problems is easier when we feel united and strong.

The Dream - Celebrations


Safe Spaces

We’d know what we need to work on too, creating safe spaces for those most harmed, to heal. There’d be informal education thoughtfully built into social spaces, at the speed of trust, and in healing centred ways.

Since I've joined this group, it's just brilliant, it opens your eyes, you’re meeting people, you’re doing things and you know sometimes when you are just talking about things, it helps. I used to have panic attacks a lot, and I do suffer from anxiety, like a lot of people do, even coming out of the house.
Before I joined here, I really didn't have any friends. So since I’ve been coming to these community things, in St Anne's and here it's just been fabulous. There is always someone to listen. I do think it's a good thing. Get Britain talking.

The Dream - Safe Spaces


Growing Food

We’d know how to or be working towards feeding ourselves and each other. Growing food together and selling it at a low cost. We’d make best use of all our green and growing space. Given the amount of money that’s spent on food delivery in this community, perhaps you might see a local food business here. There might be a food cooperative for bulk buying foodstuffs.

The Dream - Growing food


Making Decisions

We’d makes decisions together and have a real say in what goes on here. We’d have lots of ways of getting involved, and the decisions that we make together are open, transparent and democratic. They are not about winning votes or converting people to a political party or faith. They are about making the best decisions for the people and the place.

The Dream - Making Decisions


Community Wealth Building

We’d bring land and housing back into the commons. Profit wouldn’t leak out. Community businesses are part of community life. Wealth is shared and redistributed. Caring is shared. Whilst the feminine spirit is centred, care is the job of all. We’d be keeping our eye on how much resource we are able to put directly into the hands of local people.

So, this dream starts by:

Alongside the dreaming, we are keeping an eye on the following four areas

  1. Rekindling the function of community – shifting from consumer to producer
  2. Rebalancing relationships between communities and institutions – shifting away from paternalism
  3. Midwifing and cultivating new life – community health and wealth building.
  4. The interplay between the hyper local and global.

We’ll be writing about them in the journal and sharing insights as we harvest them.

Nothing about what we are setting out to do is new, but it is rooted in pedagogy and influenced by and credited to many. You can discover more in Companions In the Commons