Uturn UK C.I.C.
Uturn UK C.I.C. (a not-for-profit ‘community interest company’) is the home of the Street Associations initiative.
Started in 2010, the first Street Association was launched in Harborne, Birmingham in July 2011. The initiative soon spread from Birmingham into Staffordshire and Walsall, with support from both councils. In 2014, the website introduced the ‘free Street Associations starter pack’, allowing anyone, anywhere, to download what is needed to start a Street Association in one’s own street. This has resulted in registrations coming from all over the UK.
Working with under-privileged streets
From 2014, the main concentration of staff effort has been towards the establishment of Street Associations in under-privileged areas.
Our objects are to “stimulate and facilitate the restoration of true community, particularly through Street Associations; and communal values, particularly those necessary to support true community”.
Permission to Smile
A second major initiative from Uturn UK is the Permission to Smile campaign, started in Birmingham in May 2018. This is about helping to create the conditions in which community can spontaneously be restored, though an encouragement to people to be less reticent about smiling and greeting. Less ‘keeping yourself to yourself” and more friendliness, smiling, greeting, helping and joining together to make a difference. See http://www.permissiontosmile.org
The founders of Uturn UK are Martin and Gina Graham, a husband and wife team who felt convinced that restoring community is a key to addressing many of society’s ills – and that it could be done!
Previously, they pioneered On the Move International, a charity which, between 1998 and 2009, inspired and facilited churches to look outwards, putting on free barbecue community events in town centres and learning how to ‘be there’ for people who needed someone to talk to. Over that period, 24,000 team members were mobilized and 430,000 members of the public were fed in free barbecues in the UK alone. The same concept was then brought to 27 countries. ‘On the Move’ continues successfully in many countries, including the UK.
Prior to that, Martin Graham was chief executive of the Kent Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The intention is to work with people of goodwill from all faiths and none, together with local councils, housing associations, the health sector, police and other stakeholders, together to affirm and realize the vision of restoring true community to every resident on every street.
Uturn UK C.I.C. is governed by a board, comprising Alasdhair Hedges (chairman), a surveyor from Oxford; Irene Elias, a podiatrist and former magistrate from Birmingham; Ray Buick, a pediatric surgeon from Essex; Nick Hoult, a pastor from a deprived estate in south Birmingham; and Revd David Primrose, director of transforming communities for the Diocese of Lichfield.