Kindness is at the very heart of our wellbeing. With the support of JRF, over 2016 and 2017 we worked with seven organisations to test what, if anything, could be done to encourage kinder communities, exploring ideas around the importance of places and opportunities to connect, and the intrinsic values underpinning our interactions and relationships.
We have seen powerful examples of where kindness and everyday relationships can affect change and support the wellbeing of individuals and communities. You can hear about some of these in our film. But there are major factors that get in the way of engaging and encouraging kindness both in individuals and organisations, including real and imagined rules relating to risk; funders and policy makers valuing the formal and organisational over the informal and individual; and modern definitions of professionalism and good leadership crowding out everyday kindness and intuitive human interactions.
Zoë Ferguson is continuing to work with us through to April 2019. The current phase of work involves a partnership with North Ayrshire Council to undertake a further set of demonstration activities focused on kindness, to support the local authority’s work to tackle poverty. We are also convening the Kindness Innovation Network, which brings together 100 people from across Scotland to develop and test ideas to embed kindness in workplaces, services and communities.
We have also begun a series of roundtable discussions with Julia Unwin, Carnegie Fellow, exploring in more detail what constrains public service organisations and staff from showing kindness.