One of a pair of blog posts about things I was involved in on Friday 8th April 2016. One beautiful day in North Liverpool.
Out to the North Docks early morning Friday, to the event I’ve been organising the past couple of weeks with the help of all my Beautiful Ideas friends who I’ve been telling you about for a while now.
This is the day our ideas go public and we’ve invited lots of politicians, business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, general friends – oh and two football clubs – to come and discuss them with us and how we’ll be using them as part of creating a new and alternative economy in North Liverpool.
The invite to the day says this will be:
“One day with people who are doing social and economic change differently, to talk about how we could all do it even more differently and effectively in North Liverpool.
Taking place on Friday 8th April in a new maker space being opened up and renovated in Liverpool’s North Docks. So taking place inside a Beautiful Idea in the making.
This will not be a day of power points and presentations but of linked discussions and debate about ideas, needs, opportunities and possibilities here in North Liverpool, now and for the future.
How we are going about creating an economy for everyone who lives and works here not by simply waiting for investments from elsewhere, but by investing ourselves, our skills and our imaginations in the future of our place.
Makers, bakers, bikers, creators, engineers, gardeners, fixers, builders, artists, actors, organisers, thinkers, dreamers and doers. Working together on a new economy, here in our North Liverpool.”
18,000 square feet of space unused for 10 years that will soon be filled with tools, makers, members, activities and life. Including the 50 or so people who’ll be arriving for today – the most people the building will have had inside it in a decade.
This day is one of a series of economic discussions being organised in Britain’s core cities by Clare Goff of New Start magazine and Rachel Laurence of the New Economics Foundation. Clare will be publishing a special New Start edition on Liverpool later this week, so will do more of a ‘write-up’ of the day than I’m going to do here. Erika Rushton, talking to them above, is one of the people behind The Beautiful Ideas Co of course.
Sketching out a verbal map of the geography and history of North Liverpool to put us all in context.
Most people haven’t been here before and so are naturally keen on having a nose round. So, like opening the door in the back of the wardrobe, we walk them through into a world of possibilities.
“What’s the economy for – ideally”
We talk in smaller groups dotted around the place.
Then get together to hear what we all think.
Which is much and various of course.
But more about people and well-being and enabling us to do the work we love and are best at, rather than waiting around to service the global economy on part time, zero hours, minimum wage contracts.
Another of the Beautiful Ideas, Pao!, are doing the lunch and drinks today. And they bring some fruit in half way through the morning.
Next it’s Discussion Two time. Deep into the subject of North Liverpool’s economy:
“What’s stopping us in North Liverpool and what’s helping us?’ Talking about what we need more of and what we as a city and range of organisations need to do and not do to help the new ‘from the ground up’ economy work in north Liverpool.”
Gathering together before lunch to hear what we all think.
There is much talk of ourselves as a City needing to be nimbler with permissions and help. Of moving the ‘help with business rates red line from over the dock wall where nothing is happening, to over here where the enterprises are.’ Of doing neighbourhood plans now before things get seriously moving. Of the ‘glass floor’ that multi nationals don’t see or can’t get through – the ‘on the ground economy’ where we all live and work. Of setting up for a success where the originators and movers don’t get priced out of our own neighbourhoods. And above all, of just doing it. Not waiting for a perfect world, but doing what we can with what we’ve got. Because we want to, we can and North Liverpool can’t and won’t wait. No way are we going to let the North be left out of Liverpool’s future.
It feels exciting and very possible to pull off. And in interludes throughout the day, we talk about our ideas as partners and individuals – our Beautiful Ideas (I’ll be telling you about mine very soon).
Then time for our third and final discussion:
“So how do we make our North Liverpool economy work for everybody here and what are you going to do about it?’ Practical actions to make space for and integrate the top down and ground up economies now and very soon, together with thoughts of what kind of a North Liverpool this could produce for the future.”
Not really, just concentrating fiercely!
It’s in our North Liverpool natures to try things out, do a bit of this and that. To just get on with things.
Yes, the main conclusion being to start. We have our ideas now. Some already ready to pitch for investment from The Beautiful Ideas Co – yes, investment, there’ll be no grants here.
We are ready to start.
Just to remind you. The Beautiful Ideas Co is a social enterprise that, along with match funding, has been able to generate a pot of £600,000 from a community car park on Priory Road, for both Liverpool and Everton matches. And this money, made in North Liverpool, is now going to be invested back into North Liverpool through our enterprise ideas, all of which have to be organically bound to the people and the place itself.
See also the companion North Liverpool piece to this ‘Without These Walls’