Like you would do for one you love: For Liverpool and Leeds

I’ve been thinking about Liverpool, which probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me. Also thinking of Leeds and Leonard Cohen, which might. The thinking brought on by an early morning Saturday tweet which mentioned how much a friend and I openly love our places, my friend Phil being from Leeds.

This was sent as part of a discussion several Leeds friends turned out to be having about whether and how it’s ok to be critical of where you live and are mostly working. I instinctively replied:

“I always write honestly about Liverpool & as everyone knows, I love it. So any criticism is careful & gentle, as with one you love.”

As soon as I’d sent that it reminded me of Leonard Cohen’s song “Take This Longing” Continue reading “Like you would do for one you love: For Liverpool and Leeds”

From Nelson to Barnoldswick: Walking to Leeds Section 11

All will be revealed later.

After a few dog days, sorry about that, I’m glad to get back to canal walking, returning to our Barnoldswick base that we’re using to cover the highest sections of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, through East Lancashire into West Yorkshire. Over this weekend it’s our intention to cross over the top of the Pennines and begin our descent into West Yorkshire and Leeds. Let’s go.

Getting the M1 bus back to Nelson where we left off a fortnight ago. The chimney the only thing left standing of this particular mill.
Through the pleasantly terraced streets of town.
Arriving back at ‘our’ canal.
Where Sarah helpfully points out today’s route.

Continue reading “From Nelson to Barnoldswick: Walking to Leeds Section 11”

Real Junk Food Liverpool

Since publishing late in August of 2015 this post has been viewed by more people than anything else I’ve ever published. Strong evidence of how welcome this new café is in Liverpool. However, as our Real Junk Food Café is only open at the weekends for now, most of these blog views have happened when readers couldn’t show their support by actually going to the café. So as the weekend arrives let’s put that right? See you there.

It shouldn’t have needed to happen, but I’m really glad it has. There’s a Real Junk Food Café in Liverpool. In Everton, in fact.Real Junk Food - 1At 117 Shaw Street, on the corner of Everton Brow.

If you’ve been reading this blog since we visited the founding Real Junk Food Project in Leeds you might remember that in one of the richest economies on earth we’re throwing away 35% of our food, in a country where austerity politics is causing many people to go needlessly hungry. And so a movement has started that is intercepting this food at the moment it is pointlessly thrown away – and retrieving it on behalf of us all.

Welcome to the Real Junk Food Project, Liverpool. Continue reading “Real Junk Food Liverpool”

On the road to Emmaus

I’ve visited Emmaus in Leeds twice now and find their approach to ending homelessness unusual but inspirational. So I thought you might appreciate a look around at what they do.

“At Emmaus we’re working together to end homelessness.

We know that overcoming homelessness often means more than a roof over your head. That’s why Emmaus supports people to work their way out of homelessness, providing meaningful work as well a stable home for as long as someone needs it.”

Emmaus Leeds.
Emmaus Leeds, one of 25 Emmaus Communities across the UK.

Each time I’ve visited I’ve been with people from social enterprise bus company HCT Group, showing them the breadth of potential activities for social enterprises. And Emmaus are very much a social enterprise. The people who live here also work here and elsewhere in Leeds, selling the stuff they make and repair, as we’re about to see. Continue reading “On the road to Emmaus”

Waste Not, Want Not?

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I’m not sure if being away from home helps me think more clearly but certainly being in Leeds for a few days this past week has been full of education for me. Education of the in your face kind that I wrote about at the Real Junk Food Project of course. But also gentler learning through visiting other places doing good things as part of my work, plus other learning and thinking whilst there from long conversations about life and the living of it in a time of austerity with friends new and not so new.

Back in Liverpool now all this education has led to one of my Sunday afternoon musing rambles to see if I can work out what it all amounts to, for me anyway. Here goes.

Learning from austerity the last time around

The first thing I should clarify immediately is, of course, that I don’t for a moment believe that this really is austerity that’s being visited upon us in these years. It’s a cold blooded political attack and I could fill the rest of this post with the names of the guilty. But enough said. The guilty are calling it ‘austerity’ and I’m going to think through how we might move from widespread paralysis to recovery by thinking about the last time there was real austerity. Continue reading “Waste Not, Want Not?”

Real Junk Food in Leeds

‘In this country we throw away something like 35% of our food, most of this throwing away being done by the big supermarkets and that’s just wrong.’

I’ve been talking with the Real Junk Food Project.

Here at Armley in Leeds.
Here at Armley in Leeds.

In fact a whole group of us have been talking with them and getting a direct experience of what they’re about.

You might remember us visiting the brilliant Severn Project urban farm and much more in Bristol a few weeks back? Well the same group of us have just been in Leeds, me and a group of front line staff from social enterprise bus company HCT, bus drivers mostly. From London, Bristol, the Channel Islands, Wakefield, Dewsbury, here in Leeds and me from Liverpool. Here to learn, here to question. Here to find out.

I'm so glad Real Junk Food found the time to let us visit.
I’m so glad Real Junk Food found the time to let us visit.

This café in Armley is where the whole ‘Junk Food/Pay As You Feel’ movement got started. Continue reading “Real Junk Food in Leeds”

‘Community Led’ – Moving beyond victims and heroes

If you walk where you’ve always walked you might think what you’ve always thought. So today I’ve been walking along streets where I don’t often go. And not to take photographs of them like I usually do on here, but because I needed to think. Because we all need time to go off and think sometimes and because I seem to do my best thinking by walking around. Then, after a while of  this walking, to sit down with a pen and a notebook and see what’s turned up. Here goes then.

Thoughts from a park bench.
Thoughts from a park bench.

 

A Sunday morning conversation

Already this morning there’s been a very rich conversation on Twitter. It starts with people, and thank you all, reflecting on our good fortune in Granby this week. Some wishing they could ‘have’ whatever it is we might have. Our architects, our supporters, even named members of our community! This gradually moves into a Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester and architects and mostly northern and Homebaked and Welsh Streets and Four Streets conversation about ‘community led’ and the stories that get told. Eventually and mostly circling around these two ‘big’ questions on this particular Sunday morning:

  • How does ‘community led’ change actually happen?
  • And how can we move our stories of place and change on from old archetypes about victims and heroes?

Which is what I ended up thinking about as I walked round Liverpool this afternoon. Continue reading “‘Community Led’ – Moving beyond victims and heroes”

An Oasis in Leeds

Lilac - 1Yesterday I visited an oasis in Bramley, West Leeds. After a mini bus ride over from Liverpool all of us there got off the bus to be greeted by this.

Lilac, the UK's first affordable ecological cohousing oasis!
Lilac, the UK’s first affordable ecological cohousing oasis!
Twenty houses plus something special I'll show you in a minute.
Twenty houses plus something special I’ll show you in a minute.
The houses built from prefabricated straw bale panels which the members of the community made themselves.
The houses built from prefabricated straw bale panels which the members of the community made themselves.
All on the site of a former school.
All on the site of a former school.

Continue reading “An Oasis in Leeds”

In Leeds: Talking up the North

On top of the Industrial Revolution.
On top of the Industrial Revolution.

It will be a day of top quality glass rooves, and we’ll be back to that one later.

First though, to Lime Street for the Trans Pennine Express.
First though, to Lime Street for the Trans Pennine Express.

At the same time as me, others from around the North are getting on trains too.

As planned, I arrive in Leeds with plenty of time for a walk round town, as you’d expect.

Another top roof, the Corn Exchange.
Another top roof, the Corn Exchange.
Sorry to see they're still looking for a tenant for their 'Flagship' space.
Sorry to see they’re still looking for a tenant for their ‘Flagship’ space.
Walking around after a sudden shower.
Walking around after a sudden shower.
Street food, its a thing isn't it?
Street food, its a thing isn’t it?

Continue reading “In Leeds: Talking up the North”