This week has been very interesting, not least because I’ve come across a load of cool initiatives that I haven’t heard of before. In the latest of my random resilience round-ups, I thought I’d share a few with some reflections on why I think they’re great examples of resilience.
I’ve linked these guys to their “about” page for a reason. On the face of it this doesn’t look anything special – an enterprise set up to manage the hiring of spaces. Except it’s targeted at hiring out spaces in schools (which tend to be hugely under-used given they are essentially community facilities). And the income generated goes to help schools’ finances. And there’s an emphasis on building stronger community links between schools and their localities. And my favourite bit – it was founded by a couple of students who wanted to demonstrate their school had more to offer than a damning OFSTED report.
Almost everything about this story has an assets-based feel to it and I’ll be watching these guys with interest to see if they manage to capture the imaginations of other schools, students and communities across the country.
I’m annoyed I’ve not heard about these initiatives before now, particularly as they are in the same vein as one of my favourite organisations Social Bite.
I work in London and am ashamed to say that I’ve not been immune to the rapid proliferation of coffee purveyors that seem to be everywhere at the moment. I spend an awful lot of money on very little if I’m honest, even if the coffee does taste quite nice. So it makes complete sense that if you were going to develop a social enterprise to provide people who are homeless with an employment pathway, you’d choose such a growth industry.
The Old Spike Roastery in Peckham not only produces extremely ethically and seasonally sourced coffee, it employs homeless people and provides training as well as housing support. From what I hear it is going from strength to strength, which leads me to…
Change Please, which is the new venture from the same people (which I think is launching on Monday 23rd November). This takes the concept out on to the streets, with homeless people trained to be baristas and provided with coffee carts ostensibly to sell to the commuter crowd (people like me!). It’s such a simple concept, but a clever one in my view and I really hope they’re a success. If you see them out and about, trade in your over-priced hipster flat white for one that gives everyone a little more value.
And on a final note, it was great to see George Clooney visiting Social Bite the other week, but given his Nespresso links one wonders if he’d be more interested in these guys. “Change Please coffee? What else?”
A nice little Lambeth project this one which ticks so many boxes for me. A project that works to provide urban growing spaces that truly reflect the local community. Actually I’ll let them explain because they do it better than me:
“All of our projects involve close collaboration with communities to help people transform their neighbourhood by sharing our design and gardening know-how. Whether it’s greening your street with flowers and trees, growing fruit and veg locally, teaching children and adults about healthy eating and sustainability, or simply having fun outdoors, it’s all about growing together.”
It’s not really the transformation of open spaces that caught my eye, but the way they seem to have found a magic ingredient in bringing people together, whether that be larger communities, neighbours on a street, or even people within a family. Their work seem to build stronger relationships between people that in turn builds stronger relationships with things they create. I don’t think this is talked about enough in my view, so it’s great to see it so evidently in action.
and finally…. an update on an old favourite!
A little while back now I wrote a post about Stay Up Late and their Gig Buddies project. If you’re interested click the link and read away, I shan’t bang on about how awesome I think they are here. But what I will do is share their exciting news that they’ve come up with a method for helping people to set up Gig Buddies projects all over the place – Gig Buddies in a Box!
This makes a huge amount of sense. I’m a great believer that these sorts of things work best where they have a local feel but a wider network of support. There is literally no reason why there couldn’t and shouldn’t be a Gig Buddies Camden, or a Gig Buddies Brixton for example. Read up about them and watch this space!
As always with the resilience round-up, don’t take my word for it. Read about them yourselves and make you’re own mind up. And I’m always interested in other cool examples of people demonstrating and strengthening their individual and community resilience so feel free to share!