Preston, here in North West England, is having a bit of a moment. A moment about doing things for itself. Obvious things, in some ways, but a combination of obvious things that no one else is doing in quite the same ways. Economic things, social things, using your own resources and imagination kinds of things that are getting it a good deal of curious attention. So I’ve decided to come and have a look, and a listen.
For a long time I’ve thought and no doubt even said that if you really know your stuff, whatever that ‘stuff’ might be, you should be able to explain it clearly to anyone. Just this year, for example, I’ve been driven to so much distraction by some verbose inhabitants of the ‘social investment sector’ (their description of themselves) that I’ve had to publicly berate them for telling a room of people who actually do things that we need to ‘learn their language’ if we want them to consider investing in us.
I’m saying this because this very week some of my own ‘stuff’ has been put to the test when The Economist asked me if I’d have a go at answering some questions. They run something called The Burnet News Club that’s specifically about involving both primary and secondary school children in discussions about the economy.
And, equal but opposite, what was it I wanted to stay in?
A few days after my gentle poem, urging everyone to vote and suggesting staying in Europe might be the best option, our world here in Britain and Northern Ireland has changed. And I don’t want to add too many words to the mountain of them already written.
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.”
Today I want to introduce someone you haven’t met on here before. In fact I hadn’t met him myself before yesterday. He’s John Davey, the man who invested £500,000 in us at Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust, thereby more than helping to get us moving and bring the whole partnership of organisations together that’s now transforming the 4 Streets.Here we are in Cairns Street yesterday. Back row, Erika Rushton of the CLT, Tracey Gore of Steve Biko Housing and Frank Hont – Lead Councillor for Housing at the City Council. Then front row, Ann O’Byrne – Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and next to Ann, John Davey.