Building neighbourhood solidarity and resilience

This is the keynote article from the latest print edition of The Estuary Alternative.

With all of the grassroots community projects we promote and do our level best to support, there’s one key fundamental and that’s generating a sense of neighbourhood solidarity. We’re not talking about an exclusive sense of solidarity centred on one particular group – we’re talking about the kind of solidarity that respects the variety of people that go to make up a neighbourhood.

The kind of solidarity which recognises that while people can be very different from each other, they can all play a role in making a neighbourhood a better place to live once they recognise that’s what they want to achieve. The kind of solidarity that our rulers and their mates in the right wing media hate because it means people have seen beyond their games of divide and rule and encouraging us all to be nothing more than selfish, atomised, uncaring producers and consumers. It’s the kind of solidarity we’ll need in an increasingly uncertain future as we face a Brexit where no one in power in either the UK or the rest of the EU can explain to us mere plebs what its consequences are. In addition to this, there are also the ever growing risks posed by climate change to consider…

These will impact on food security – the first manifestations of which will be steep price rises. Extreme manifestations could well be shortages of certain foods… This is the kind of scenario where life in an atomised neighbourhood where no one knows or trusts their neighbours could start to get uncomfortable to say the least. The kind of scenario where neighbourhood resilience cannot happen because everyone is fearful of everyone else. The kind of scenario where the authorities can control us because we fear and can’t trust each other. Basically, a nightmare scenario that no caring human wants…

Which is why we support any community project that brings people together, regardless of their backgrounds. At the end of the day, whoever we are and wherever we’re from, everyone wants to live in a neighbourhood where people look out for and care for each other. A neighbourhood that in an age of failing public services can provide networks of support for its more vulnerable members. A neighbourhood that’s taking steps to take control of its food supply with community gardens/allotments, food buying groups and the like. A neighbourhood that once it gains a degree of self confidence about looking after itself, will start to ask some searching questions about power, who exercises it and how it has to be brought right down to the grassroots.

So, while The Estuary Alternative may on the surface seem to be a ‘fluffy’ project, what we’re about is building the new world in the shell of the crumbling one we have to endure at the moment. The key to success in that project is building neighbourhood solidarity and resilience so we can not only survive the challenges of the dysfunctional world we currently live in but we can also start to build the saner, juster and more sustainable one we desire.

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SiT Community Allotment Taster Days Sun 09/07/2017 10-14 presented by Southend in Transition

Here’s your chance to find out what Southend In Transition Community Allotment do – if you’re interested in growing your own food as an individual or as a neighbourhood project, there’s a lot you can learn from SiTCA…

Southend in Transition Community Allotment

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

Sun 09/07 10-14

Gardening, watering and lots of vit D:), the Big Bee Count – spot them and record them.

Sun 23/07 10-14

Gardening and a bit more of citizen science – the Big Bug Hunt – spot them and record them


Other events locally:

Transition Drinks – 27/07 Thur 19:00 Olde Trout Tavern

Village Green Festival 08/07 Sat 11-9PM

SEEOG Talk – 17/07 Mon 8PM Growing Together Westcliff – The future of organic seed

Learning opportunities

Compost making

Wise watering

Soil fertility

Weeding

DIY:

water catchment and…

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