Shaping the Future: A New Chapter for GM Systems Changers

GMSC stewards feb 24

“All that you touch, You Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth Is Change.” ― Octavia Butler.

Change is a given regarding the evolution of work in Manchester. 

In 2020, Lankelly Chase devolved decision-making for the Greater Manchester place strategy out of the philanthropic institution to a small group of people from GM with lived and learned experience of systems of oppression. Lankelly Chase has remained involved by providing funding, infrastructure, and accountability within the charitable purposes of prevention of poverty’ and ‘the advancement of citizenship/community development.’ 

Through the knowledge and insights of this locally-led group, we’ve shifted from place-based systems change to a grassroots movement-building strategy. The objectives of the last few years have been to nurture the critical connections between us and support a critical mass of grassroots communities doing the work of solidarity and liberation. We’ve intentionally distributed resources to communities led by working-class women and young people, most of whom are led by people of colour. 

Our longer-term vision has always been to explore whether there is enough energy between us to become a self-reliant, organised, and governing collective because we know that we are more powerful together than the current system of separation and domination.

Given Lankelly’s decision to dissolve its current structure as a philanthropic entity within five years and for Lankelly folk to exit well from ‘place-based work’ within the next year, understanding ‘what next’ takes on a much sharper focus!

By ‘sharper focus’ and ‘what next’, we mean that between now and September, we will explore and reveal our appetite for what we ‘could become’ without Lankelly Chase. Because this journey must be shaped by our collective community’s insights and dynamic spirit, we will be inviting our partners to reflect and share their wisdom on the following types of questions:

  • What binds us beyond money? For example, in their work or community, can they name some of the systems (themes) they are trying to resist or nurture into being?
  • What is their dream for this collective/network to become?
  • What are the principles that could guide us?
  • What is the life-affirming infrastructure that might make this all become a reality?

We trust that all will be revealed through our individual insights, multiple perspectives, collective wisdom, abundance of creativity, and shared sense-making. Going forward, we can either confirm or co-create our identity, vision, mission, and infrastructure, including what resourcing this work could look like beyond a framework shaped by accountability to charitable funding. 

As is always the case with radical work, there may also be multiple identities and pathways the community wants to take. There is no wrong or right answer 🙂

GMSC team photo feb 2024

As we navigate this transitional phase, the core team will expand slightly to include additional members in a role we’re naming ‘Temporary Stewards’ (TS). Expanding the core group signifies a crucial step towards more decentralised decision-making and community organising. We also appreciate this may feel like a bit of a closed process, but it is how the original GM SC core team have been able to navigate shifting from a ‘grant-making’ entity to being super focussed over a 6-month timeframe to explore ‘what we ‘could become’ without Lankelly Chase.’ 

The main objectives of the Temporary Stewards will be to invite partners to reflect on the questions above and to embody creativity, cross-organisational collaboration, and community building, amplifying voices while fostering practices of solidarity. We will then do some collective sense-making to determine what we want to do next before attempting to design some of the infrastructure between October 2024 and April 2025. 

GMSC emergent strategy

We are still working out the flow of the next few months, but it feels essential to communicate little and often rather than infrequently. In that spirit, here are a few of the things we already know:

  • Emergent Strategy work plan: We’ve included a visual of the GMSC ‘ Emergent Strategy’, previously shared by email and on the website. Through sense-making together, the GMSC core team noticed a pattern in the types of work themes the community gathers around. We appreciate that sense-making with a small group is imperfect, but we feel it’s good enough to try and safe enough to fail.

  • Temporary Stewards roles: TSs are people who have time to take on additional organising and hosting in the messiness of emergence, and/or they’re already the named leads within the GMSC Emergent Strategy work plan. Each area under Emergent Strategy on the visual will have a named TS, and here’s a list of who they are.

  • Regular community catch-ups: Many of our partners have said they want to spend more time together, so the current plan is to schedule community drop-ins every six weeks for all new and existing partners. We will need to work with them to confirm dates and times, knowing they may change as we find our flow.

  • Clarifying questions: We are sure partners will have questions, so please get in touch so we can create FAQs live, so to speak.


  • NEXT STEPS: We will share more in the next two weeks, especially about invitations to organise into smaller groups to start exploring the questions above.

Together, we stand at the threshold of a new era defined by compassion, solidarity, interconnectedness, imagination, and revolution. 

As we collectively shape the future of GMSC, we are excited to be with the challenges, celebrate the victories, and nurture our own alternative realities that bypass the domination and injustice of current systems of oppression. The connections we cultivate between each other really are the lifeblood of GMSC.

We do not doubt that what emerges between us will be better than the limits of our individual imagination. We are excited and curious about what happens next and couldn’t think of a more wonderful group of people to do this work with. Finally, this is an invitation – if some partners would rather not participate in this process, they can let us know when they feel the time is right! 

We appreciate and thank you for bearing with us and being open and willing to step into this next phase. 

With love and solidarity,

GM SC core team