One of the things the current global crisis has taught us is the importance of collaboration in decision making and working together to turn great ideas into action. Around the globe and closer to home, we have seen great examples of individuals and organisations coming together to solve a bigger problem.

We’ve been inspired to think more about the power of collaborative action by one of the latest organisations to feature on the Ethex platform. At the very top level, VocalEyes offers organisations licensed access to a digital platform that’s designed to help communities launch projects that tackle today’s big challenges and make change happen. But what does that mean to their customers? And how does this kind of tech-for-good platform benefit communities and help solve major problems?

Ethex CEO, Lisa Ashford spoke to the VocalEyes team in one of our Cuppa Club webinars to learn more about the business, their vision and what they have achieved. Watch the recording of the event here.

Here are a few examples of how the digital tools provided by VocalEyes have brought minds and ideas together to create positive action.

Nottingham pilots Participatory City initiative with VocalEyes
A multi-sector collaboration of organisations in Nottingham launched the first Participatory City initiative in the UK that is underpinned by the VocalEyes digital platform, training and support services. This Participatory City model, a partnership of local organisations, allows for the sharing and development of pioneering ideas to improve community life and aims to enable coordinated action across the city around practical solutions.

VocalEyes tech is being used in the initiative to establish a voice across all participating communities and schools where ideas and solutions to issues such as climate change and community health and wellbeing are debated and a priority for action is established. 

The ideas developed vary from community yoga classes to promote physical and spiritual health to a feasibility study for solar panels that will help communities generate clean and renewable energy. The success of this collaboration action to tackle pressing social and environmental challenges has led to the preparation for scaling up the Participatory City model around the UK.

The Big Conversation on Wellbeing in Swansea
The Well-being Plan for Swansea is an initiative run by Swansea Council to make Swansea a more prosperous place, where the natural environment is appreciated and maintained and where every person can have the best start in life and have every opportunity to be healthy, happy and safe.

VocalEyes worked with Natural Resources Wales to run a “Big Conversation” around the wellbeing Plan. Their aim was to identify the tangible projects that need to be implemented to develop this fantastic plan into reality.

In an effort to do things differently and experiment with new ways of working, VocalEyes organised public events that were a blended approach of speakers, group discussion, digital rating and debating all in a relaxed atmosphere. The evening presented many inspiring ideas including coop housing, maker spaces, biochar, divestment, air pollution, homelessness, localisation, participatory budgeting, gamification and plenty more.

As a result of this event, the ideas presented are now on the VocalEyes platform, where they are being discussed, prioritised and resourced in a collaborative community effort to turn them into positive actions for the benefit of all.

Giving tenants a say in budgets
Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic reflection and decision-making, that gives ordinary people the power to decide how to allocate part of a public budget that affects their lives. 

Building on pioneering participatory budgeting projects with a local community council in Swansea, VocalEyes recently successfully completed a £40k participatory budgeting project with Sovereign Housing, enabling tenants to influence how this budget is to be spent in their neighbourhoods.  

And in Nottingham, the local Community Foundation has just kick-started the VocalEyes Participatory City model with participatory budgeting of their annual budget which is anticipated to be around £300k.

Developing collaborative local solutions through schools
Pupils at Llandaff City Primary School in Wales used VocalEyes to help them bring about positive changes in their school and community. 

Using the VocalEyes digital platform, pupils were able to share views and ideas on a wide range of projects, such as a community litter pick and healthier menu options. 

Not only did the process bring some of the top ideas to life, improving the local community and the lives of the children at school, but it taught the children some valuable tech skills as well as responsibility, collaboration and leadership through a process of democratic decision making and the power of sharing ideas.

Giving a voice to youth across Cardiff Schools
Pilot projects of VocalEyes being used in schools across South Wales led to a commitment from Cardiff Council to make VocalEyes available to all schools in the county as part of their UNICEF Child-Friendly City initiative. 

Through participating in the VocalEyes site the children and young people can learn about and exercise democracy and citizenship. The key message of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the intrinsic value of children and childhood. Children and youth are not only important as future adults and taxpayers but as individuals and citizens of today.

Kids vs climate change
VocalEyes worked with the Youth Council of Wales on a Climate Change conference where children were invited to research 10 solutions to the climate crisis and present their findings. 

Using the VocalEyes mobile app, they rated each of the solutions presented to choose the winners, teaching them the values of collaboration and cooperation while delivering action against climate change at a local level.

Help more people do more!
Funding secured through the VocalEyes investment raise on the Ethex platform will help this innovative organisation to meet the growing demand for services, scale-up, both nationally and internationally and deepen their impact within organisations and communities. 

A successful investment raise over the next few weeks will move VocalEyes significantly closer to realising their vision of building digital tools, training and support for local democracy, participatory budgeting and community organising throughout the world, enabling the best practical projects to be discovered, adapted and replicated through coordinated action in communities. Acting locally, together globally! 

You can invest in the VocalEyes bond offer from £50, targeting a 5% return and the investment can be held within the Ethex Innovative Finance ISA, so any potential returns would be tax-free. Investments are also eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR)*

Capital is at risk and returns are not guaranteed. 
*IFISA & SITR eligibility depends on investors' individual tax status, current legislation and, in the case of SITR, the CIC's compliance with the rules.  Please note that investors who invest via IFISA will not be eligible for SITR.

Investments offered on the Ethex platform are not readily realisable, which means that they may be difficult to sell and you may get back less than you originally invested. Investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and returns are not guaranteed. If you are in any doubt, you should contact an Independent Financial Adviser.

Investments offered on the Ethex platform are not readily realisable, which means that they may be difficult to sell and you may get back less than you originally invested. Investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and returns are not guaranteed. If you are in any doubt, you should contact an Independent Financial Adviser.