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!