October ’17 Repair Cafe @ Shoebury Hub

This is the kind of practical, grassroots activity making a positive difference from skill sharing to sustainability through giving various items a longer use life that we love to promote…

After a hiatus due to a home move we were eager to get back into Repairing and for Octobers repair Cafe we were pleased to connect with the Malcolm, Brian and Chris of My Town Southend – https://www.mytownsouthend.com/ – @ the Shoebury hub who kindly offered, at stupendously short notice, to host the repair cafe in the wonderful community space they have created in what was originally the Unitarian Evangelical church. My Town Southend is all about promoting community cohesion, resilience and well being as opposed to extractive activities draining people and capital from the town. Needless to say we definitely sing from the same song sheet as them and are excited about one of their ideas to set up a Share shed at the hub which would sync in perfectly with the repair movement.

See here for the rest of the piece: https://southendrepaircafe.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/october-17-repair-cafe-shoebury-hub/


What is ‘Liberation Permaculture’

Is permaculture about re-creating Eden or about changing the world in every way, even politically? Graham Burnett and Nicole Vosper make the case for a politically engaged, ‘liberation permaculture’ – https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/what-liberation-permaculture

This is from two people we have a lot of respect for making the case for a permaculture that will bring about fundamental social change as opposed to one that’s simply a lifestyle choice made by people who want to opt out of the modern world but who have no real interest in changing it. It’s an old piece but one that’s probably even more relevant now than when it was written, given the narrative of change coming from an individual altering their lifestyle as opposed to more politically conscious collective endeavours that seek to not only challenge but overthrow the system. It’s about siding with the oppressed and showing solidarity for their struggles for liberation as opposed to a lifestyle change that simply makes you feel good but does sod all to overthrow a system that is moving well beyond it’s use by date.

The Estuary Alternative is back from the printer

We would like to extend our thanks to Oxford GreenPrint for a superb print job and swift delivery of the paper. Distribution of this will start in Southend tomorrow, including venues such as The Railway in Clifftown Road. Given the kind of paper this is – celebrating and promoting grassroots community projects – we won’t be delivering it door-to-door as we want to make sure each and every copy gets into the hands of people who want to make a change in this area.

So, if you support the aims of this blog and paper and want to take a small bundle to hand out to friends, family and neighbours, feel free to get in touch and we’ll sort something out. Also, if you know of or frequent a venue that you think will be sympathetic to what we’re trying to achieve, let us know and we’ll get the papers in there.

As we’ve stated and written before, we really do want to make this a collaborative project, giving a voice to all of the grassroots community projects operating in the area. The headline on the paper is ‘Working better together’. The aim is to encourage the development of an informal network of groups who help each other out as and when necessary, share experiences and skills and end up becoming considerably greater than the sum of their parts. So, it’s over to you to build on what we already have and build something that can start to bring about real, meaningful change…

Working better together

There’s an amazing range of grassroots projects operating in this area. They range from community gardens and skill share initiatives through to resident run and managed local parks and open spaces. All of them in their own way contribute to the project of building a more just, sane and sustainable world that could eventually replace the decaying, dystopian one we currently have to endure.

One of the ideas that motivated building and holding the Southend Radical Fair that took place on May 6th this year was to facilitate networking between the grassroots projects in the area. Obviously, there’s a level of networking that already does take place and a number of groups do co-operate with each other – if that didn’t happen, the Southend Radical Fair would never have got off the ground!

The thing is, if we’re being honest, we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to networking and working together. Now don’t get us wrong, we are most definitely NOT calling for any kind of formal alliance! We’ve been there before in trying to meld a disparate range of radical groups and individuals in London into a semi-formal alliance and it didn’t work. We’re looking at a looser, more ad hoc arrangement where groups and people work together on specific projects or actions.

As well as this, we would love to see more in the way of skill sharing and mentoring between the different groups and people working on grassroots projects. There’s a tremendous wealth of knowledge out there ranging from how to organise and facilitate meetings, set up blogs and websites, produce papers and flyers through to building events such as the Southend Vegan Fair, managing a community allotment and in the case of Passionate About Hardie Park, managing a local park! If all of this could be shared, we would all be stronger and better placed to bring about meaningful change.

This is why we have set up The Estuary ALTERNATIVE blog and paper. As well as promoting and celebrating what grassroots community projects are doing, we want to use what we do as a place where we can share skills and experiences and grow stronger together. So, it’s over to you to make this happen!

We’re going to be bringing The Estuary Alternative out as a paper…

To help boost this initiative of promoting grassroots alternatives and projects along the estuary that are helping to build a new world in the shell of the increasingly dystopian one we currently endure, we going to be bringing out The Estuary Alternative as a paper. Following on from the Southend Radical Fair that was held on May 6th at The Railway in Clifftown Road, we want to develop a central clearing house where people can go to in order to find out what’s going on, network with each other and promote their own projects. We realise that patience and a fair bit of graft in the form of networking is required to really get this project off the ground and that it’s going to take time…

So, if you run a grassroots community project that’s promoting a positive alternative, feel free to write a few paragraphs about what you’re doing and it can go into the paper and onto the blog as well. We’re aiming to bring The Estuary Alternative paper out two times a year. Ideally, all we want to do is edit other people’s contributions, lay the paper out and sort out the printing. Unless it’s about the projects we’re personally involved in, we really don’t want to be writing the content – we want this to be your paper…

When it comes to distribution of the paper, needless to say, we’re not going to be doing this door-to-door. We’re looking for other sympathetic venues such as The Railway and Utopia to take small bundles of the paper for their patrons. If run or know of such a venue, let us know and it will be added to the distribution list. Also, if you want to take papers to distribute to your friends, neighbours and family, let us know and we’ll sort something out.

As for funding the cost of printing the paper, we’re happy to fork out for the first issue but after that, we really would like contributions from groups running grassroots projects in the area. We really want this blog and the paper to be a collaborative effort and eventually, we want to reach a point where we can hand this project over so it’s run by the people involved in grassroots community projects along the estuary. So, it’s over to you…