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13 February, 2018

On the last Saturday in January, Birmingham hosted its third Listening Roadshow, facilitating a conversation about how people feel following the EU referendum.

It was built around four people coming from Sheffield, Brighton, Frome and Birmingham itself, who took experienced a Roadshow in the morning, followed by training in the afternoon in how to facilitate further their own Roadshows. And it took place at Birmingham’s Clifton Road mosque.

What is actually said in a Listening Roadshow is not passed on or publicised. But as often happens, some participants found themselves listening for the first time to people who had voted opposite to them in the referendum, about why they did so and how they feel about the situation now. There was some surprise at the integrity of those who take an opposite view of Brexit, and realisation of how easy it is to pre-judge.

The Referendum is some time ago now, but the sense of unease on all sides and the lack of communication with those who think differently has not diminished. The Listening Roadshow will be available for another six months. So now is the time to bring a group together where you are. The refreshed team of facilitators is ready to come and do its work.

After that, we will hand in a summary of the main findings to policy-makers at the Department of Community and Local Government and others in Westminster. And then it seems right that it should evolve into a more action-based programme.

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