October LWN Meeting – Voluntary Action Islington – 20/10/22


This month’s Local Wellbeing Network meeting took a slightly different approach to the usual format as we had guest facilitator, Betsy Dillner, (Principal Director of The Social Change Agency) deliver a 3-hour workshop on how to build a successful, sustainable and impactful network. Previous and initial meetings have offered an opportunity for members to get to know one another, promote and understand the various services in the locality and network to build vital relationships. After seeing a healthy rate of member retention month on month (starting in June), this project recognised the immediate need to translate attendance, energy, time and enthusiasm into tangible action; not least due to the immediacy of the cost of living crisis and broader negative health determiners in Islington.

Therefore, Betsy took the group through the Social Change Agency’s ‘Network Building Canvas‘, looking at the pillars of a successful network and how to ensure a shared responsibility and shared impact. These pillars are:

  • Network Identity
  • Governance, Power & Decisions
  • Value Creation & Exchange
  • Infrastructure & Resourcing
  • Impact
  • Change Management

Network members (seen below) split into groups and engaged in various conversations around these topics and how it relates to a successful network in the South locality of Islington. You can dive deeper into the topic of successful networks and engage with a range of free resources, case studies and activities here. This month’s attendees and their contact information are available here:

Alexis White St. Luke’s Community Centre
Anita De Pan Islington Council (Adult Social Care) 
Caroline Kamana The Liliesleaf Trust/Anti-Apartheid Legacy
Jo Cooney BIG Alliance
Juliana Lottmann Embrace
Julie Parish Octopus Community Networks
Libby Swinfield Talk for Health
Navinder Kaur Voluntary Action Islington
Patrick Penny-Annang Barnsbury Housing Association/Community Change-Maker
Primrose Christie Octopus Community Networks
Rona Topaz Brickworks Community Centre/Community Change-Maker
Rosie Apperley Octopus Community Networks
Suzanne Lee All Change Arts
Zena Sherman Light Project Pro International/Community Change-Maker


After a short break, the group then continued discussion around an initial 3 elements which can result in tangible action and leads to some form of change. These are:

  • Communications
  • Key Activities
  • Assets and Infrastructure

After this, Betsy steered the group through further discussion around less tangible elements of a successful network and facilitated more abstract debate about how members can contribute to the group. These topics were:

  • Values & Culture
  • People
  • Leadership

We will be consolidating all of the discussion, answers, suggestions and information following this week’s meetings and will publish this on our website soon. If you would like quicker access to information, you can contact Julie Parish (email address above) or Betsy directly at Our aim is for this to be the start of broader, ongoing discussion around how to ensure this locality network is operating at its fullest and that members understand their role and how collective action can inspire positive social change for the South of Islington. If you would like to join the network and get involved in this discussion, please do get in touch with us and/or anyone listed above. This is an inclusive membership of all communities and we welcome anyone and everyone wanting to work for positive change.

Next month’s meeting will look to build on this learning and momentum and will be made available to register very soon.