Grateful for all of the contacts and attention from Aditya Chakrabortty’s piece in The Guardian recently about what we’ve all been doing in Granby these past few years, here’s what I’m doing and interested in doing now.
I’m sat writing this 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.
I’m sat here sorting out my website so it says what I want about what I’ve done recently and what I’m interested in doing next. Writing in the brightening year, with the sense of renewed energy that always brings, about things I might do.
I’ve spent much of this last week walking round Birkenhead with my friend the photographer Jane MacNeil. Our walks have been part of the Wirral Ideas Festival, part of helping local people create and develop ideas for new enterprises in Birkenhead. The Festival finishes this evening, Thursday, with an Expo of all the ideas and what’s happened at the various events over the week. After which you’ll no doubt hear more from organisers The Beautiful Ideas Co and then the ideas themselves as they develop.
But on here and for now I just want to quietly celebrate Jane MacNeil’s beautiful photos, along with celebrating Birkenhead itself. A beautiful place with so much potential. Let’s walk.
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.”
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.
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.
Back in 2003 Sarah and I started a joint venture with one of our customers called ‘Liverpool back in business.’ We’d just been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2008 and our venture was going to take advantage of this renewed interest in all things Liverpool and give visitors to the city ‘insider’ tours of a place getting ready to welcome the world. We bought the domain name, engaged partners, tried it out, set up a website. Did everything, in fact, except sell our idea to enough people. Too far ahead of the game? Maybe, because now it looks like Liverpool really is back in business.I’m here at West Africa House, opposite the Liver Buildings, for a book launch. And to see and celebrate what two of my friends, Fiona Shaw and David Parrish, are contributing to the well being of our city. And I’m here to talk business.
Yes, normally this blog concerns itself more with the society and structure of Liverpool than the grubby business of making money. But the blog is, let’s face it, part of the website of the business that’s kept me and Sarah going these past 20 years. And it’s business, trading, commerce, creativity and ideas that help pay for the running of the city. That turned the little port into a city in the first place. So business does matter, even though I don’t usually talk about it much.