We are here to support, promote and develop voluntary and community action in Middlesbrough

Movement building (wearing L plates)

If you’ve been on any leadership training in the last few years or love a good TED talk you may be aware of the following video:

‘Leadership is over-glorified… It was really the first follower that transformed the lone nut into a leader’

Since bringing Camerados to Middlesbrough, I’ve certainly felt like a lone nut at times. Even as part of a small team, you battle with feeling self-conscious (extrovert or otherwise), sometimes thinking 'Am I dragging people into something they just aren't ready for, a concept they place little value on?'  

Pop-ups are fine as people tend to take them at face value, knowing that engagement will not result in responsibility (a risk-free transaction of human connection!) But hosting something regularly is different. Things can become organisational very quickly. People start to emulate roles. ‘Hosts’, ‘guests’ and ‘regulars’ start to act as such and a space that’s designed to be open and led by those who enter into it, suddenly resembles nothing new.

But then, the first followers appear.

First followers are individuals who get it. Those who read the Camerados principles (below) and say yes. They don’t just accept the badge, they apply the ethos (live it out) and when they can, pop along to the community lounge. They understand that the lounge isn’t a weekly club, there’s no repercussions for missing a week or sense of entitlement if you come all the time. When they do come, they bring value and they value others. They share moments with those they would never of met otherwise; laugh, listen, share, moan, agree, disagree… They simply take time to connect.

These are the folks who are building the Camerados Boro movement.

Please don’t think Camerados Boro is all about Tuesday evening’s tea and chat. It’s a promotion and celebration of all that exists to build friendships and purpose in our community. It may be that the places you meet with people here in Middlesbrough, are Camerados spaces. Your toddler group, Sunday league team, book club, support group, classroom might already be full of people that look out for each other. Great. Share your stories! Champion that the answer to our problems is each other:

  • Share how knowing people care about you effects your life
  • Share how your listening ear prevented someone else from crisis
  • Share that someone has been brave enough to tell you to be kinder
  • Share about the time someone let you learn in your own way... in your own time.

A Middlesbrough full of Camerados would be a great place to live right? So be a first follower. We may even find that the services we access and organisations we use start to behave like the crowd in the video and join us, becoming that bit more human in their approach, for fear that not joining in will leave them exposed…


PS The Camerados principles are draft purposely, because a movement learns and evolves from every new and valuable person who joins it. Will you be that next person?


Community lounge

The community lounge continues to be open to all every Tuesday evening 7-9pm at Bar Zero. To keep informed of this and other Camerados activity please find and follow @cameradosboro on facebook, instagram or twitter. For more information email cameradosboro@gmail.com or contact Hannah at MVDA.

Hannah Roderick


Communications Officer