Category Archives: Social Enterprise

The Stranger in Skelmersdale

One of my most treasured possessions and one of the very few things I’ve kept hold of in a life with few kept books and very little else in the way of belongings, is ‘The Stranger in Liverpool.’ My 1820 edition of a guide to Liverpool which takes the shape of escorting an unfamiliar visitor on a walk ‘around the parish bounds’ of the relatively small place we were then.

Yesterday I was ‘The Stranger in Skelmersdale.’ One day, 200 years after my precious book, of being taken on a walk round a nearby town that I hardly know at all.

I remember the moment I was introduced to Skelmersdale.

It’s a summer evening in 1965 and we’ve come out for a drive after our tea in the brand new family car, a dark blue Ford Cortina, ELV 397C. We’ve travelled out from North Liverpool into the Lancashire countryside. All winding lanes and old churches, where the most modern thing in the landscape is us in our car, until we arrive at what I remember as the crest of a hill where we are looking down into the huge bowl of a building site landscape:

“What’s that Dad?”
“It’s a new town they’re building down there. It’s going to be called Skelmersdale.”

After that my memories are few. Of riding through the brand new place most days on a Ribble bus, on my way to Wigan Tech, as the 1970s begin. A few years later some friends lose their home in Melling as the M58 is finally, and more than a bit late, built through there to Skelmersdale. Then in more recent years some contacts and one visit through my work with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. So, not much and definitely not enough to claim to know the place.

Which is how come I turn up here, late November in 2017, as The Stranger in Skelmersdale. Continue reading

A True Story: Having the time of your life?

On top of a hill in Yorkshire. Some time in the late 1990s.

Recently on here I’ve been writing about being self-employed and the kinds of work I do. About how much I like variety in the work I take on and the stress it caused me recently when I found myself doing too much of one thing.

So when I read this article by Owen Jones in The Guardian, suggesting that a four day working week could be good for our economy, our society and our health, I remembered.

I remembered that ever since I began leaving my day job in the mid-1990s and becoming self-employed one of my objectives in doing so has been to work less. Not that I don’t enjoy the work I do. I do, and one of the big things I’ve always gone on about is finding and doing the work you love. And I have, mostly. But a core part of living the life I’ve had over this last 22 years has been to have more time than I used to have for me.

To do what? Well, we’ll get on to that. Continue reading

The Story of the The Beautiful Parks

Apply here by Saturday 4th November – That’s today!

There is magic all around us. Stories waiting to be told. In every park & street the future is waiting. Listen, while I tell you a story.

“In what would yet come to be looked back on as the early years of the 21st Century the people of Liverpool woke up to the beauty all around them. Gathering first in small groups in Autumn 2017 and telling each other stories of what they might do, in the parks and other places that had been around them for all of their lives, and many lives before but in the huddle and muggle of everyday busyness had been all but forgotten.

Here they began the re-membering and the re-doing of their place.

From early 2018 they started. Small things at first & many. The growing of things, the gatherings and re-gatherings. A litany of possibilities and a story-tellings of dreams. Dreams that got planted, stories that grew. Knowingly and quietly they began the re-growing of their Liverpool.

Listen, I’m telling you a story… Continue reading

Granby Street Market, September 2017

The great L8 Street Market is well into its eighth year now but I haven’t been around Granby or anywhere else much recently, so it was good to step out on a fine September morning and arrive at Granby again.

The Market runs pretty much all year now on the first Saturday of every month.

And since last year has run on Granby Street itself, the road being closed for it.

The market has grown and thrived in the extra space.

A real mixture of stalls here. All kinds of food, art, crafts, bike repairs, general interestingness and some they sum up as ‘car booty-ness.’

But best of all loads of people and the place itself. I was involved here for many years of course and it’s great to be back among friends again. Conversations flowing easily in the morning sun. Continue reading

Summertime in Anfield: with Ninjas

A perfect warm and sunny day in July for a day out in Anfield. A place where we’ll be spending a lot of our time soon as me and Jayne Lawless of Coming Home Liverpool go on site with our next 18 houses. Today though is a day of rest, much talk and some play.

Into Stanley Park.

A wedding about to take place. Perfect day for it.

Continue reading

Make Liverpool: One of Liverpool’s best ideas

Just a few words on behalf of Make Liverpool, a few friends who are leading what I think is one of Liverpool’s best ideas. A large space, in Liverpool’s North Docks, where you can go and make things. In space you don’t have and with tools you can only dream of owning yourself. Simple and brilliant.

Continue reading

Wirral West and its Shining Shore

Having spent much of yesterday afternoon and evening in Wirral West, as one of the many people there helping the local Labour candidate Margaret Greenwood get elected, I decide to go back to the constituency today, as I take a day off from all forms of working.

It’s such a beautiful place.

Always my favourite place for reflective, meditative walks.

Today I’m reflecting on my happiness that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters did such a good job and reintroduced ‘being yourself’ into a political system where that’s been thoroughly yet pointlessly discouraged for years.

It’s early summertime in the sandstone walls.

Continue reading