The We Make Camden Summit

The We Make Camden Summit

The We Make Camden Summit 2560 1440 Ruth Craven

We Make Camden Summit 2023: Growing our movement to build a more equitable and sustainable borough

On Thursday 23 March 2023, we held our second annual We Make Camden Summit at the Wellcome Collection, to reflect on our progress over the past year in working towards our We Make Camden ambitions.

We brought together a movement of 150 citizens and representatives from a diverse range of Camden organisations, to tackle the biggest issues facing the borough.

Throughout the morning, we heard from our partners and citizens about the incredible community action happening and launched our State of the Borough report and the Good Life Camden framework.

Together, we talked about what more we can do as a movement and what actions we need to take in the year ahead.

Woman and man presenting

Suraya (citizen activist, peer advocate and social worker) and Hayel (Co-Founder at Word on the Curb) open the Summit.

Everything that happens in the future starts now

To kick the event off, we asked our guests to imagine what would be different in the borough if we reached our We Make Camden ambitions.

The Leader of Camden Council, Cllr Georgia Gould, opened the event and launched our new State of the Borough report – a snapshot of what life is currently like in Camden, to help the Council and our partners identify what needs to change in the borough and how we can make that happen.

Georgia shared some of the great work happening in reaching our We Make Camden Missions, including expanding food co-operatives in Gospel Oak and our vibrant sharing spaces on council estates, delivered with Think & Do and a range of other partners.

She called for further action from citizens and partners to get involved and finished with a call to action to our business and corporate neighbours to help us.

“Together, we have to create a movement across the borough – bringing in more and more partners to all play our part in achieving these Missions.”

Cllr Georgia Gould

Woman stands on stage presenting

Cllr Georgia Gould opens the event

Action happening in our communities

We heard from seven partner and community representatives during the event: Google, Camden Giving, a We Make Camden Kit grantee, University of Arts London, Regents Park Estate Community Champions, London Metropolitan Police, Central and North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust and Edith Neville Primary School.

They spoke about the work they are doing, as well as sharing their insight from the State of the Borough report and plans for their next steps – from creating more education and employment opportunities for young people to sharing more power with citizens through the We Make Camden kit.

Some examples of the powerful action happening in the borough include:

Edith Neville Primary School and local partners are working to tackle poverty and the cost of living crisis – for example, they are funding free school meals until July 2023 with Phoenix Court Works, and a Sainsbury’s donation has provided fruit for Key Stage 2 pupils.

Google is providing opportunities for young people through Camden’s pioneering STEAM programme, and responding to community feedback on challenges like digital inclusion by delivering community training opportunities, piloting career certificates and supporting community leaders in Camden.

Camden Giving is working with businesses and the Council to fund citizen-led projects that contribute to the We Make Camden Missions, with a board of citizens deciding which projects are funded.

CNWL is creating opportunities for local people through their ‘volunteer to career’ programme, working with partners to demystify NHS careers and creating dedicated opportunities for care leavers.

Group of people sat in chairs on stage presenting

Speakers from Google, Camden Giving, University of Arts London, London Metropolitan Police, Central and North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust and Edith Neville Primary School, a We Make Camden Kit grantee and Regents Park Estate Community Champions,

The Good Life Camden framework

We also launched Good Life Camden, a framework developed with citizens to help us measure how life is for people in Camden.

Three of the Camden citizens involved in developing the framework shared their experiences and how partners can use it in their work to improve lives – moving beyond engagement and consultation, to taking action around the things that matter most to residents.

If you would like to find out more about the framework and help us to improve the lives of as many Camden people as possible, contact us at

Three people sat in chairs on stage presenting

Ray Kinsella, Charise Outram and Angela Tebe – Camden citizens who have been part of a team of citizens helping develop the Good Life Camden framework.

Working together and committing to make change happen

Event guests took part in lively and creative breakout groups exploring seven of the We Make Camden Missions and challenges:

  • Debt: Everyone can get the support they need to avoid debt and be financially secure
  • Food: By 2030, everyone eats well every day with nutritious, affordable, sustainable food.
  • Diversity: By 2030, those holding positions of power in Camden are as diverse as our community – and the next generation is ready to follow.
  • Digital: Everyone in Camden can access and be part of a digital society
  • Loneliness: No one in Camden is socially isolated without the means to connect to their community
  • Estates and neighbourhoods: By 2030, Camden’s estates and their neighbourhoods are healthy, sustainable and unlock creativity.
  • Youth: By 2025, every young person has access to economic opportunity that enables them to be safe and secure.

Together we discussed the progress already made and current action happening, what more each of us can do and how working together can help us all to make real change happen.

We encouraged everyone to think about the commitments they could make to help tackle the challenges and achieve our Missions.

Each breakout group was filled with an amazing creative energy and sense of possibility, with many new connections made and ideas sparked.

“Camden is a huge experiment into what happens when communities hold money and power. And it’s working, it just needs to happen faster.”

Natasha Friend, Director of Camden Giving

A group of people in the breakout session

One breakout group share ideas together.

Next steps – how you can join the movement

 We can all play an important part in making the borough a more equitable and sustainable place. Whether you’re a Camden business, institution, voluntary and community organisation or citizen, we want you to be a part of our movement.

To make a difference, you could:

  • Use the State of the Borough report to inform your work
  • Embed the Good Life Camden framework into projects
  • Sponsor or start an initiative in your local area with the We Make Camden Kit
  • Support colleagues to get involved in local volunteering projects
  • Take action in response to the Missions and challenges by providing expertise, funding or other help.

We’d love to hear what action you’re committing to or to discuss how you can get involved – contact us at

We are motivated and committed to working together as a movement over the next year and are excited to see what we will have achieved by the 2024 We Make Camden Summit.

We’re looking forward to it already!

Photo credits: Justin Thomas

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