The following are a few local stories that reflect citizen-led action in neighbourhoods where we support communities to focus on what’s strong and not what’s wrong.
Brass Band Event in Thornhill
Graham is a local Connector and a committee member of the local Tenants and Residents. He has a passion for music and he had conversations with local people and had links with the local working men’s club.
In Christmas 2014 they organised a traditional brass band activity for everyone in the community.
Graham then booked the Altofs and Normanton Brass Band and he hosted at The Whistling Blackbird workingmen’s club, who laid on a buffet. His wife Marlene organised a raffle and the club laid on a lovely buffet for the evening.
Over 50 people attended the session; there was a good mixture of people including young families and people over 60,s.
Here are some of the things local residents said during the event:
Kate, aged 16.
“Thornhill is a lovely place to live, lovely views from every angle”
“Thornhill has good schools, but community spirit is disappearing fast. Well done for trying to revive this!”
Thornton Heath Arts Week
During June and July 2015 Thornton Heath shared two examples of the enduring qualities of ABCD with the welcome return of the annual Parade of Nations and the Thornton Heath Arts Week.
Long time Connector Jonathan Bobamara led the Parade of Nations activity which brought together citizens to create a day of celebration and conversation that has had a far reaching impact into the daily life of Thornton Heath. Not least influencing the council to follow the communities lead and pay more attention to the Parades venue, Trumble Gardens, a previously unloved green space now fast becoming a well known gem.
Thornton Heath Arts week was developed by a number of Connectors who wished to highlight the vast array of artistic talent in the area and promote their work creating employment opportunities along the way.
Last year’s event was so successful that many activities continued throughout the year. These included the Heath Collective made up of local artists and photographers who displayed their work at a major venue in Croydon, and the Well Versed poets who ran regular Open Mic sessions at the Rugby Club as well as running poetry workshops in three local schools.
Paul Macey supported the Connectors to identify gifts within the community including developing work with local schools to run successful poetry classes with Year 5 pupils. Paul is a Community Builder with Croydon Voluntary Action and Nurture Development Associate. He works supporting local communities in Croydon and beyond.
Find more info on Thornton Heath Arts Week here:
On the video below Karen Barnett and Paul Macey share their thoughts on the power of connecting through conversations, and what happens when they focus on the assets of their communities.
Karen is a community artist who enjoys supporting community events. She was part of the Thornton Heath Festival organising committee and mad beautiful costumes for the Carnival Parade. The Festival was organised exclusively by local residents to show people what is available on their doorstep and give artists and community-based practitioners the opportunity to profile their activities.
You can see some images of the Parade and more information about the Thornton Heath Festival, including 2016 edition, below:
Leeds City Council Community Builder met with Robin, member of Middleton Elderly Aid, and supported him to start a local group where he teaches others to build walking sticks.
Robin has been making walking sticks for about 30 years, and so he set up the Walking Stick group for people to have a sociable dinner and a productive time making a walking stick.
The group started small and then others joined, usually making just one stick. Now a small group of men meet regularly to make sticks and even bring their own experiences to bear. They keep receipts and balance out the expenditure within the small sparks grant that enabled them to buy the first lot of materials like glue and the antlers used for handles. They continue to make and sell walking sticks for the community at affordable knock down prices.
The video below features interviews of Leeds Community Builders, Connectors, local residents and more.
This video is part of the evaluation of the SeNS Project to reflect the journey the people in Leeds have towards locally initiated action for the whole community and provide material for discussion and development.
The film was commissioned by Leeds City Council and was released in October 2014.