Festival of Beautiful Ideas: Wirral

Beginning this Sunday, 23rd April, a week of events to get you thinking and get you started on that new enterprise idea you know you’ve got. Including coming for walks with me to talk things through and see some places where you might get going.
Over the week from Sunday 23rd April I’ll be part of this with my friends from The Beautiful Ideas Co who have this to say about it all:

“We’re working with Wirral to reignite its long history of ideas and innovation in this spring’s inaugural Festival of Beautiful Ideas.
We’re looking for potential viable ideas that can have an impact on making Birkenhead and Woodside a great place to live and work.
And not only are we looking for ideas, but we’re looking for people who’re willing to offer opportunities and challenges to be met by our entrepreneurs – or can support them in any way.

Focusing inspiration and energy on Birkenhead and Woodside, the week-long festival sees a series of events and ‘hack days’, taking place around the area. They’re an opportunity for people to talk about ideas, share opportunities and get inspired.
Each event taps into the opportunities highlighted for Festival of Beautiful Ideas, including music and events; food and drink; making and manufacturing and places and spaces, to show people with bright ideas some of Wirral’s unique – and under-utilised – spaces. It’s about cultural potential; reclaiming Wirral’s industrial heritage; pop-ups and meanwhile spaces.

We’re looking for people who’re passionate and enthusiastic; people who want to change perceptions, make a difference and try something new.”

Continue reading “Festival of Beautiful Ideas: Wirral”

One Beautiful Day: North Liverpool

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.

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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.”

Continue reading “One Beautiful Day: North Liverpool”

How to do Social Housing: Part Two

Continuing the true story of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust on siteGranby on site - 70

The second of two detailed parts of my story about exactly how to do social housing. Or at least, exactly how we’re doing it in Granby 4 Streets.

At the end of Part One we are deliriously winning the Turner Prize.
At the end of Part One we are deliriously winning the Turner Prize.
Assemble and a few of us are up in Glasgow at the Channel Four announcement.
Assemble and a few of us, though not me, are up in Glasgow at the Channel Four announcement.
The rest of us are in Liverpool watching it all together at The Small Cinema in Victoria Street.
The rest of us are in Liverpool watching it all together at The Small Cinema in Victoria Street.

Next morning I’m up well before the dawn reflecting on what’s just happened and have published my thoughts on here before the media start arriving in the Four Streets. Continue reading “How to do Social Housing: Part Two”

Investing in Granby 4 Streets

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.16.02.29 - 1Here 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.

My day had begun as usual by walking into town to my morning's work.
My day had begun as usual by walking into town to my morning’s work.

Continue reading “Investing in Granby 4 Streets”

How to do Social Housing: Part One

A true story of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust on site.On Site Part One - 1I want to tell you a story about social housing. A very detailed story (in two parts) about exactly how to do it. Or at least, exactly how we’re doing it in Granby 4 Streets.

I want to tell you this story now because recently some people who I thought knew better are saying social housing can’t be done any more. Or that anyway if you do decide to do it you’re doing something called ‘Submarket Housing.’ As in subhuman, subspecies, substandard, subnormal, substitute, subterranean? You can probably only barely imagine how annoyed  this makes me feel, having been working in and around social housing now since 1972.

But this won’t be a rant, more like a demonstration of a community of people, including me, doing social housing here in Liverpool over the last few months. And it’s a detailed demonstration because over this time I’ve been the Granby community’s representative on site as we’ve worked on our latest batch of renovations. Throughout this time I’ve taken hundreds of site photographs, mainly to help us all run the job. But I think they’re interesting and even beautiful in their way. Because they show what doing social housing looks like.

Here goes.

Late last September we finished our first five houses.
Late last September we finished our first five houses.
And our great friends Ann and Lorna came to help us celebrate.
And our great friends Ann and Lorna came to help us celebrate.

That’s Councillor Ann O’Byrne, Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Lorna Mackie of the Nationwide Foundation, one of our major funders.

That same day we went on site on our next three houses.
That same day we went on site on our next three houses.

Continue reading “How to do Social Housing: Part One”

North Liverpool: What’s your Beautiful Idea then?

I wrote about this a few weeks ago when we launched the, well, idea. £600,000 raised and matched from a community car park on Priory Road near Liverpool FC’s stadium, to be reinvested straight back into good ideas for North Liverpool. Ideas that have to work as being socially good, as well as being good and sustainable enterprises.BeautifulSo this is just a short reminder via the Beautiful Ideas Co to add your idea to the many already sent in before it’s too late.

First a short film tour of North Liverpool. Starring Homebaked and their pies and with me talking: Continue reading “North Liverpool: What’s your Beautiful Idea then?”

The Beautiful Ideas

How do we turn needs and ideas into sustainable enterprises for North Liverpool?

As I mentioned in my previous post on here Thursday evening and Friday this week were all about North Liverpool for me. Working here with The Beautiful Ideas Co. It was great.

After an afternoon on site at Granby 4 Streets I got on the 19 bus (not that one above) to Stanley Park. Thursday was a cold clear evening and I arrived at the park to see, all lit up and sparkling, one of the most beautiful sights in all of Liverpool.

The Isla Gladstone.
The Isla Gladstone Conservatory.

I was well early for what I was there to do, so spent a good while outside taking these photographs. No apologies whatsoever then for showing you a good few of them. Our North Liverpool gem. Continue reading “The Beautiful Ideas”

All will be well

All will be well01It’s a Street Market morning, first one of the year. Winter has passed, the light has returned and all feels well with the world as I set off for Granby. Though the days of darkness have been hard for many our once every five years go at proper democracy is only a month away. And dull though the election campaign has been so far, it does lift the heart to know that the current custodians of austerity politics may well be gone soon, despite the barking and howling of their lap dog and attack dog media.

Along Smithdown.
Along Smithdown.
And Ullet Road, a perfect Spring morning.
And Ullet Road, a perfect Spring morning.

Continue reading “All will be well”

Wondrous Day

And so, on 9th October 2014 it all came together, and ‘the chink of light’ we spoke about four springtimes ago shone brightly on Granby 4 Streets as history turned up and witnessed the community of the place, at long last, take a formal stake in the future. Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust is launched with ‘Our First 10 Homes’ project.

The day begins quietly on Cairns Street, Liverpool 8.
The day begins quietly on Cairns Street, Liverpool 8.

Liverpool Mutual Homes are already on site on one side of the street.

People begin to gather.
People begin to gather.
Interviews begin to happen.
Interviews begin to happen.

Here is Erika Rushton of Plus Dane, also on site elsewhere in the 4 Streets. Erika is Chair of the Community Land Trust. Continue reading “Wondrous Day”