Mutual Support

How can we be more mutually supportive? How can we get better at supporting each other in making our contribution to building a world where all can flourish & flourishing personally in the process? How do we do ‘Mutual Support’?

The intention of the Civil Society Forum’s mutual support initiative is to find ways of working supportively together; and particularly to work supportively to support each other in making contributions to building a world where all can flourish, and flourishing personally in the process.

This page aims to signpost you to opportunities for mutual support available to you through the Civil Society Forum. It also aims to pull together ideas of how we can work in more mutually supportive ways in all the environments in which we operate (including all our working and living communities; with colleagues, professional peers, even friends and family).

We hope this will be an inspiration to us all to explore how we can work in more mutually supportive ways and to experiment with formal and informal ways of doing this – and open up new channels for more people to join in, both in your own organisations and groups and under the banner of the Civil Society Forum – experiment with establishing formal and informal ways and developing more channels for engaging in mutual support both through the Civil Society Forum and elsewhere.

In support of this aim we invite you to contribute your ideas. We hope that in this way we can inspire and support each other to explore how we can work in more mutually supportive ways and to experiment with formal and informal ways of doing this.


  • Develop capabilities of all involved in the ways of working (social processes) for working more supportively together.
  • Provide practical value to all involved in making their/our contribution to building a world where all can flourish & flourishing personally in the process
  • To experiment with methods that groups of people can use to support each other in making their/our contribution and flourishing personally in the process
  • To share learning from the experiments and encourage each other to engage those around us to join in the experiment


Our ways of working and living have evolved to be largely individualistic and to expect us to be autonomous, highly independent or highly dependant. Individualised professional support are often the only options for gaining support. Not all have ready access to these and, even if we do, “we cannot have wellbeing alone” (quote Satish Kumar, peace & environmental activist and founder of the Wellbeing Network). We become isolated in our independence and lose the many benefits that companionship and connectedness brings. To develop our resilience and build a world where all can flourish it is important to recognise our interdependence and strengthen our ability to work in mutually supportive ways. This need becomes more acute when under threat, not least when money is tight. (Much professional support is individually oriented. Whether for individuals, groups of organisations is costed as a professional service which becomes less affordable when money is tight.)

Initial focus

Anyone who finds their way to the Civil Society Forum and is sympathetic with the aims; People in businesses, public sector, third sector organisations and communities aiming to make a contribution through their activity to the wellbeing of the world in anyway. e.g. Economic activity, and seeking to ensure they and others involved and affected are able to thrive. Anyone displaced due to current economic crisis or other reasons and seeking to re-establish themselves in making a contribution and making it sustainable.

Otherwise unconnected individuals

Potential Development: things that could emerge

Spin-off sub-groups of people around similar interests, role, locality or connected through building of relationship. (e.g. Interest has been expressed in having groups of senior managers in charities, of business people and those interested in influencing academic agenda to meet needs of future)

Development of new contributions e.g. New initiatives, including new initiatives under the roof of the Civil Society Forum

Emergence of community of hosts, people with relevant skills – such as facilitation, coaching, transformation – drawing together to co–host Mutual Support channels (and other activities of Civil Society Forum)

Practical collaboration between those connecting via ‘Mutual Support’ opportunities

Mutual Support Meetings

Mutual Support sessions are being held in London every 3-4 weeks. Anyone is welcome to join the group. click here to see a generic agenda that is drawn on and experimented with in these meetings.

There is interest in starting groups elsewhere. Do make contact if you would like to see one in another locality and if you would be interested in co-hosting a group.

Remote Mutual Support

Work is just starting to pilot remote forms of Mutual Support, building on the experiences of the face-to-face group. The format (at least in the first instance) will be a regular group Skype call every 3-4 weeks. This will then evolve as the participants and host decide. Contact us if you are interested in being involved.

Enquiring conversations

Enquiring Conversations is the name we have given to teleconferences exploring a particular topic. These can take any format the group and its host want to try but three basic formats have been established so far. The basic format is hosted by someone who guides the flow fully. Alternatively the process is set up by a host or joint organising group and participants to hold together jointly after the initial welcome.

  1. The conversation starts with someone giving a short presentation setting the context and giving insight into the chosen topic. This is followed by a group discussion. A volunteer hosts the conversation and helps facilitate the flow. A variant on this is for more than one person to share insight at the start.
  2. The conversation starts with all or some of the group giving short presentations on the subject.
  3. Participants read an article (e.g. A 300-1000 Insight Piece which we are inviting people to contribute for the forum website. Or some other form of article) in advance. This then sets the context for a discussion on the topic. The author of the article can contribute to the conversation and someone (ideally, someone else) host the conversation to help facilitate the flow.
  4. The conversation is an open enquiry with no source material but a convening question. This is potentially supported by a list of questions to help support the enquiry to fully explore the convening question.

All these revolve round a ‘ question or set of questions’ which are the focus of the exploration. Towards the end of the conversation time is spent considering whether people would like to followup in any way from the conversation e.g. With more in depth or opening the way for other connection and collaboration between people taking part and potentially including others.

Underpinning Questions for the ‘Open MeetUp’ sessions

What is important in the world and how can we make a difference in this? How can I enhance my contribution to building Civil Society? How can we enhance our collective contribution?

1. What are the challenges I am currently working on or would like to be working on? What are the particular challenges facing with me in this?

2. What would help me increase my contribution? (What would help me/my colleagues/ associates/others increase our contribution?) What are particular challenges that others might be able to help with? Can you (others present) help me with…?

3. Can I help you/ others at the meeting? In what way?

4. Can I help support the purpose/work of the Civil Society Forum? In what way?
click here to see a generic agenda that is drawn on and experimented with in these meetings.