Get your copy of the The Estuary Alternative paper

If you want to get hold of a copy of The Estuary Alternative paper and talk to us about what we want to achieve with this project, you’ll have your chance this coming weekend. On Saturday 16th, we’re going to outside the Southend Christmas Vegan Fair (Bellvue Baptist Church, 484 Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2QA) – https://www.facebook.com/southendveganfair/ – from 1pm onwards for a couple of hours. On Sunday 17th, we’re going to be at the Stop the Cliff Development Demonstration (Prittlewell Square, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1DW) – https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/protest-against-the-development-desecration-of-the-cliffs/ – from noon onwards. If we have any papers left over from the Saturday, we’ll be handing those out at the protest – if not, we’ve got flyers to hand out instead. We look forward to meeting as many of you as possible this coming weekend and to work out a way of taking this project forward in 2018…

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The future of this project…

The Estuary Alternative was launched after the Southend Radical Fair that took place back in May. The original aim of this project was to a) promote projects and actions offering a positive alternative to the dysfunctional political, social and economic system we currently have to endure and b) to act as a clearing house for an exchange of ideas, experiences and expertise between the various alternative / grassroots projects operating across southern Essex. The question we’re now asking ourselves is this – is the project achieving the aims we set out for it?

The harsh truth that has to be faced is that it’s falling well short of those aims. Apart from a small handful of groups sending us information about what they’re doing, we’re having to do a lot of the legwork to get content for this blog – we’re also having to do a lot of legwork to get The Estuary Alternative paper distributed as well. Regarding the paper, the current issue is a one off produced to get the ball rolling. If there’s going to be a second edition a) funding from grassroots groups across the region will be needed and b) content will also be needed as on the back of the current edition, we clearly state that we have no intention of writing any copy for the next edition!

This is supposed to be a collaborative project with the eventual goal of it being handed over to grassroots activists across southern Essex by the autumn of 2018. It’s still our intention to do this – however if by the summer of next year, we’re still doing most of the legwork in producing the content for this project, sadly we’ll have no alternative but to pull the plug on it. So, if grassroots activists across the region want an online resource (and a paper) where, ideas, experiences and expertise are exchanged as well as a diary for what’s going on, now is the time to step up to the plate and get involved…

We’ve had a bit of a slim down of the content on this blog as well… The reason being was that we felt it was turning into a bit of a lifestyle listings resource and straying from it’s original remit of covering and supporting ideas and actions aimed at building a new world inside the decaying shell of the dysfunctional and increasingly dystopian one we currently have to endure. In other words, it was getting too fluffy, and while there’s a place for that, it’s not in a project like this which is aimed at bringing about fundamental political, economic and social change.

We really do want this project to succeed but it has to be on the understanding that it’s a collaborative project. We’re going to be at the Southend Vegan Fair – https://www.facebook.com/southendveganfair/ – for a few hours on Saturday 16th handing out copies of The Estuary Alternative paper and talking to people about what we want to achieve. We’ll also be at the protest against the proposed development of the cliff top in Southend – https://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/protest-against-the-development-desecration-of-the-cliffs/ – on Sunday 17th from noon onwards to hand out any papers that are left. We look forward to meeting people willing to join us in taking this project forward…

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…