Late on a mid January afternoon I’m sat writing in a café near to where I live. It’s ‘the third cafe’ on Greenbank Road, near its corner with Smithdown Road. Newly opened by Carole Fleck, who used to run Greendays off Lark Lane, and already somewhere that makes me happy every time I’m here.
I’ve been happy anyway this week working on my website and blog, so it looks like I want it to and says the things I want it to say. I think it feels renewed and somehow better and I can imagine a younger version of myself wanting to jump around and shout about it so everyone will notice. But that’s not going to happen because the version of me doing the writing here is an older one, quieter now and more reflective, so less inclined to use exclamation marks.
Still I am quietly excited by the newly brightening year, the light gradually returning and the sense of renewed energy and possibilities this always brings. So I’m sat here in Carole’s café writing about the new things and the good things I want to do this year.
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.”
A selection from the several thousand photographs I’ve taken this year for this blog. Taken all together they tell one story of the year. Not a definitive one, more of a meander as you might expect.
In a year that’s been turbulent in so many ways it’s been good to have this blog to come home to. A quiet place to reflect and to tell some stories. Stories of ordinary days and determined people, trying to make our part of the world a better and fairer place.
We are going on site. Keys to our first home will be handed to builders later this week, ready to start work on turning a house that’s been empty for two years back into a home.
Though I haven’t written about Coming Home for some time on here we have been very busy getting everything going. Lots of time on legalities, practical preparations, working with Liverpool City Council’s Empty Homes team and with much help and publicity from BBC Radio Merseyside thank you, so that now we are ready, ready to start work on our first home.
These are the strangest of days and yet the most straightforward. Days I don’t want to be on my own, reading a bewildered Twitterfeed. Or listening to ‘life is still comfy and all about us and the headliners’ reports from Glastonbury. Democracy with all its random chance has happened and I need the company of my friends.
Makers, bakers, bikers, creators, engineers, gardeners, fixers, builders, artists, actors, organisers, thinkers, dreamers and doers. I am so glad to know you and be one of you.Continue reading “You must remember this…”
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.So 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.
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.
Yesterday I published my arguments about the dangers of over regulating social enterprise in ‘Sectors are where movements go to die.’ Saying at the time that I’d be happy to publish the counter arguments of my debating partner in this inaugural Ethos Paper debate at Baltic Social a few days ago. Good enough, Matt Donnelly of Health Equalities Group has sent me what he said and here it is. Over to you Matt.
Recently Ethos Paper invited me to take part in their first public debate here in Liverpool on the question of whether we’re in danger of over-regulating social enterprise?
The brief from my friend Fiona Shaw of Ethos Paper being:
“Why bother with “Social Enterprise”? Why not just be social and enterprising?
We want the debate to be generally about the regulation of ’social enterprises’ and purism, and if you can be a social enterprise without specifically being set up as a CIC, and – if you are – whether it hampers the way you operate, in fact?!
I thought you might be interested in presenting the case against too much regulation?”
She knows me well!
So I had a walk around and a think, wrote some notes and people gathered one evening at the Baltic Social on Parliament Street for the debate. Matt Donnelly of Health Equalities Group spoke in favour of regulation and me against the motion.
I’ve often written about public libraries but not for some time. I have been spending a lot of time in them though lately, as I’ve been writing a book. It’s a book on the 50 year history of Liverpool Housing Trust, one of the ‘Cathy Come Home’ era housing associations and a place where I first volunteered and then worked in myself for 20 years from 1975. No doubt when the book comes out, which will be soon, little hints of what’s in it or long bits of what turned out to be too long to go into it will appear on here.
I’m not writing it on my own mind. My friend and ‘proper’ writer and publisher, Fiona Shaw of Wordscapes is doing much more of the writing than me and also editing the whole thing. But we divided up the bits we’d do and mostly write on our own, getting together occasionally to see where we’re up to.
And I’ve done most of my own writing of it in public libraries. In our grand and lovely Central Library when I wanted to lift my spirits and get going on what felt like a big project. Then most often in my local library at Allerton Road as I’ve settled into the work and enjoyed every minute of it.