In his final week at ECCR, Colin Darling, ECCR’s outgoing West Midlands Development Manager, reflects on the power of people working together for change, as well as the lessons he’s learned running the Ethical Money Churches Programme in the region over the last two years.

Make a difference together was once the ‘go-to’ phrase for charity advertising. More recently, adverts have tended to highlight the stories of individuals, but now Covid-19 heralds a more global, community-focussed view. People are co-operating and taking effective actions together. The pandemic has shown us that when the problem is perceived as serious enough, most people can come together to make changes, and yes, “make a difference”.

Making change happen needs an organised programme: see the problem; agree actions and implement them; create and apply resources; and monitor effectiveness and future prevention. When facing a big challenge, we need to come up with creative solutions – can you think of any current examples?

There are many global challenges that call for concerted and creative action: global warming and climate change, plastics and pollution; the arms trade; slavery; and financial corruption, to name a few.

We can do it. We can make a difference together. Changes in nature may seem too great to overcome, but positive stories are emerging behind the headlines.  A recent scientific report showed the world is making great progress in healing the ozone layer, something that might once have seemed too big a problem to tackle. There is a brilliant overview at National Geographic.

Can we apply collaborative and innovative thinking to other challenges?

ECCR’s Money Makes Change programme sets out to do this:

see the problem – see which banks and financial services providers, without vetting for ethical issues, lend and invest in businesses that are causing harm.

agree actions – we can engage with financial services providers, asking them what they are doing with our money. Only a small percentage of money is invested or lent ethically and sustainably although this is growing.

implement – if we don’t see progress, we can consider moving our money to more ethical providers and we can group together to create a bigger impact. In our Money Makes Change resources, we ask people to reflect on the fact that 40 people on an average salary have, together, a spending power of £1 million.

create and apply resources – we can work with others to create greater awareness, and support alternative and community-based banking and investing for the common good. ECCR works with other organisations including Church Action for Tax Justice, Operation Noah and many more.

monitor effectiveness and future prevention – if change happens for the better, we need to ensure that it remains that way. We thought slavery had ended but today there is a new, global pandemic of slavery and trafficking. If we hope for a sustainable and just future, we need to continually renew our work together.

The current global tragedy has caused many in richer countries to experience something of the daily insecurities of people in poorer communities. Can this inspire us to renew our efforts to make a difference to the challenges we face as a global community?

We believe #MoneyMakesChange is an opportunity to create that change. Would you join with us? 

ECCR would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Colin for his immense contribution over the last two years – he has been a wonderful colleague, helping to shape Money Makes Change and we will always be grateful for our time spent together. We thank God for Colin and wish him all the very best for the future.

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