Encouraging bees to return

Bees are a vital part of our ecosystem. Their numbers are in decline and that will have serious consequences for our ecosystem which we rely upon to sustain our lives. If you run a community garden and/or have access to your own garden, without wanting to sound preachy, you have a responsibility to ensure it’s bee friendly. The graphic above offers a few simple ideas on what can be incorporated into a garden to ensure it’s bee friendly and playing a part in supporting a healthy ecosystem.


Southend Soup: Green Living

Saturday May 19th: 13:00–16:00

Kings Road United Reformed Church, 91 Crowstone Road, SS0 8LH Southend-on-Sea



Soups are fun community events with an element of crowdfunding:
Three or four 5-minute pesentations from people/small groups needing a small amount of funding. Ideas can be related to community, art or business. Everyone votes for their favourite idea and the winner gets a pot of money – usually around £150-£250 (sometimes more!) Submit your idea here: http://southendsoup.co.uk/submit-a-good-idea/

Funding comes from the donations on the day – so it’s important to pay if you’re able to.

Hosts Kings Road URC are working towards their Silver Eco-Church award, hence the Green Living theme. So;

* If you are part of a group that helps people live in a sustainable way, we can set up a table so you can talk to people. Let us know in advance if you’d like to do this: SherryFuller@Hotmail.co.uk

* Likewise if you make stuff that helps with recycling, reduces plastic or waste, is organic, fair trade, animal-friendly, or otherwise fits in with the eco theme, come talk about what you do and sell your wares/share your stuff or ideas. (As above, get in touch if you want a table.)

* Don’t bring plastic if you can avoid it! Cloth bags, reusable water bottles.


* The venue is a Trussel Trust Foodbank, so feel free to bring donations. UHT milk, juices, sponge puddings, Smash (easy mash potato), squash and tinned pies are always needed (but not beans – they have loads!)

* There are bowls at the venue, but it can be useful to bring your own in case we get lots of visitors!

* Musical instruments as there’s usually a jam to join in with!

* Entertainment for kids (and kids-at-heart!)

* Donations for The Kindness Exchange who do a trolley-run of Southend’s rough sleepers: spray deodorant, boxer shorts, comfy women’s pants, socks, wet wipes, hand sanitiser, tampons/towels, toothpaste/toothbrushes.

See you there!

A better future for the ¾ estate in Vange

A few posts back we wrote about our experience on the Creating A Positive Revolution In Southend course and how we used that to come up with some ideas for improving life on the ¾ estate in Vange: A different way of thinking about community activism. That plan is now available as a downloadable PDF from here.

Bear in mind that the plan is an aspiration and the contents are a guide as to how that aspiration can be realised. As such, it’s not written in stone and can and most likely will change as we progress and learn from our experiences, successes and mistakes!

A different way of thinking about community activism

We’ve just completed a six week course facilitated by Graham Burnett and Sherry Fuller – Creating A Positive Revolution In Southend (CAPRIS). It was an incredibly useful course that made us question a lot of our assumptions about community organising. As community activists, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut of operating in a certain way and constantly wondering why your efforts aren’t making the impact you want them to make. For some activists it can be hard to have to question set patterns of working – we’re fortunate in that we welcome the opportunity to have our assumptions questioned and to start thinking about different ways to deal with the issues we encounter on the estates.

As part of our final presentation which was based around enhancing the work we’re already undertaking with the Vange Hill Community Group and Basildon & Southend Housing Action on an estate in Vange, we came up with the outcome tree shown above. It works in a very simple way. In red in the middle is the ultimate outcome we want to achieve. Above in blue are aspects of the vision we have for the estate. Below in green are the actions that need to be undertaken in order to realise that vision.

The outcome tree was just one tool we discussed on the course. There were others that were useful in making us think about how we work towards our desired outcome. One of these was a timeline that in our case stretched out to eight years. It starts off with one small undertaking which in our case will be encouraging residents to work on converting a patch of land recently cleared of flytipping and turn it into a pocket garden. As residents achieve more, learn more, become more confident and empowered, the vision for the development of the estate becomes more ambitious until the aim shown in the outcome tree above is realised.

This may seem like pie in the sky thinking but if you really want to change the world, you have to have a vision. Obviously, we’re well aware of the obstacles that lie in our way and we had a frank and useful discussion about those at the last session of CAPRIS. The point is that we want to move from a situation where we’re just fire fighting the whole time and dealing with the same issues over and over again to one where we’re moving forwards and making genuine progress. CAPRIS has hopefully given us the ideas and inspiration to achieve that.

UPDATE 14.4.18 – A downloadable PDF of the presentation / plan for Vange Hill is available from here.

Coming up…

Many thanks to Southend in Transition for the heads up on this...

Southend in Transition Community Allotment
(entrance to allotments off Hamstel Road – Garon’s end – opposite fish and chips Plaice to Be)

Where you can learn how to grow food, look after your garden, take fresh produce home, meet new people over a shared meal and exchange ideas on how to help the community thrive.

Taster Days – Volunteers and public welcome

Sat 10/03 10.00-14.00
Compost bin management session. Filling raised beds. Clearing existing beds.
11:30 tea and short tour of the plots
13:00 lunch
Come in any time for a cup of tea
Ps. Pls park in adjacent roads as the allotments paths are closed off.

Sat 31/03 10.00-14.00
Easter Egg Hunt! Our ever popular event is back again, find those lovely home made chocs made from natural ingredients:)
Season prep.

Learning opportunities

Compost making
Wise watering
Soil fertility
Water catchment and storage
Tool shed
Potting table
Materials storage
Starting new plot – digging

Visit us to plant, catch the sun, grow, water, sit, enjoy, drink tea or just chat.

How you can help?

· donate tools (even if broken as we might be able to fix them)
· donate seed
· donate your time – volunteer occasionally or on a regular basis

Where is it?

Click to find our little plot off Hamstel Road.

Other events and groups locally

Vacant plots on the main Southend East site available. Contact Dave on 07801 355630. Well stocked trade hut.

Amazing World and Life Changing Books Selection – Fundraiser for SiT

Norwich Avenue Community and Family Allotments – visitors and volunteers welcome, every Tue 9-12, contact Tony for more details TonyWagstaff@southend.gov.uk or 07766727266 , park in or around Cluny Square.

Think Global/Drink Local – 21/03 Wed 19:00 Railway Hotel (Clifftown Road, Southend-on-Sea) pop in for THE community social meet up, open to all groups and individuals interested in local community and sustainability.

Repair Café – Shoebury Hub – 25th March Sat 10:30 – 14:30

St Laurence Orchard Work Days – Trust Links

SEEOG talk – 19th of March, 8PM – Honeybees Hog the Headlines

Mendip Wildlife Gardens Wonderful Family Gathering – 24th March at 10:00–19:00 – Mendip Wildlife Garden 42 Dunster Ave SS0 0HN

Southend Community Wellbeing & Vegan Festival – 25th March 10:00-17:00 – 49 Alexandra Street

Wellbeing@Garons – Easter Friday Family and Community Event, Friday 30th of March 11.00-16.00

We’re bringing out another paper!

As it’s almost certain we’ll be on a stall at this event (see poster below), we’re going to be bringing out another print edition of The Estuary Alternative in a bid to promote this project and get more people contributing to it.

We pretty much wrote all of the copy for the first print edition of The Estuary Alternative in a bid to kick start the project. With the forthcoming print edition, we feel that in order to reflect what’s going on with community focused grassroots projects in the south of Essex, the people involved in them should be writing about what they’re doing and sending the copy to us. All we want to write is a brief editorial and that’s it.

We want to get this four page, A4 paper, printed and delivered back to us by the middle of March. This means the layout has to be ready to send to our printer, Oxford GreenPrint, by the start of March. In order to allow enough time to do the layout, we need your contributions by Friday 23rd February. If you’re interested in writing a piece for The Estuary Alternative, feel free to let us know using the contact e-mail below and we’ll take it from there.

This is our contact e-mail: seradicalmedia@protonmail.com

If you want change, you can start here…

Our next Creating A Positive Revolution course is being run in partnership with METAL Southend – begins Feb 20th, bookings now being taken! https://spiralseed.co.uk/product/creating-positive-revolution/