A treasure chest of ideas to create a happier, healthier, sustainable future

Over the past few months I have been talking about the necessity of exploring ideas and generating new solutions to how we become a happier, healthier and more sustainable town into the 2020s and as part of this I am delighted to introduce the Common Treasury of Adaptable Ideas.

In the summer of 2018, through a series of informal conversations, three Hastings community activists; Jess Steele of Jericho Road Solutions, Richard Watson of Energise Sussex and Sherry Clark, co-chair of Transition Town Hastings and I shared our enthusiasm for the many great community initiatives we were coming across in other parts of the country – as well as our frustration about how little was known and acted on locally.

We wondered what would happen if enthusiastic change-makers from other parts of the country shared their inspiring stories with people keen to learn and adapt their ideas to a local context. Could people and ‘ideas-from-elsewhere’ inspire, energise and co-create positive change locally?

As a result, inspiring and supporting local action through the sharing of ‘Great Ideas from Elsewhere’ became our motivation for development of a new initiative we called The Common Treasury of Adaptable Ideas.

With the generous support of the Big Lottery’s Power to Change programme, The Common Treasury of Adaptable Ideas has become a reality and it starts with a showcase of inspiring speakers coming to town next month.

The first of two showcase events will take place on Thursday April 25th, from 9am until 4.45pm at Azur, Marina Pavilion in St Leonards and it’s open to anybody keen to learn, share and generate new solutions to how Hastings can become happier, healthier and more sustainable into the 2020s.

The highlight of the event will be a group of change-makers from other parts of the UK, who will share their stories during a morning of inspiration. There will be plenty of time to ask questions and look at the nitty-gritty detail of how these ideas became reality.

After lunch, anyone inspired by what they’ve heard will have the opportunity to work with the ‘inspirers’ to develop and adapt ideas to the local context. Following the event, mentoring by speakers and ‘free-range’ development funding will be available to take the ideas forward.

We’re excited to confirm the following speakers –

Stella Duffy OBE, the creator of Fun Palaces,

An ongoing campaign for culture at the heart of community and community at the heart of culture, with an annual weekend of action – arts, science, craft, tech, digital, heritage and sports events activities – run by, for and with local communities.

Stella says: “We believe in the genius in everyone, in everyone an artist and everyone a scientist, and that creativity in community can change the world for the better. We believe we can do this together, locally, with radical fun – and that anyone, anywhere, can make a Fun Palace.”


Last year over 300 Fun Palaces took place over one weekend in October in shop-fronts, libraries, swimming pools, leisure centres, a ferry, schools, universities and dozens of other locations.

Maff Potts of Camerados,


For years, Maff worked with charities for the homeless. Concerned that many people who ended up at the shelters were lonely, Maff founded Camerados, a social movement for connecting people that has inspired Public Living Rooms as well as Human Hospitals – welcoming places that happen for a day, a week or a year where people can find new friends and discover a renewed sense of purpose.

Melissa Mean from Knowle West Media Centre

An art centre on a housing estate in Bristol that supports people to use technology and the arts to come up with creative solutions to problems and explore new ways of doing things. Melissa leads on the We Can Make project, a new housing initiative unlocking micro-sites for development and empowering a community to build affordable housing. 


A second showcase event will take place on October 24th this year where a new group of inspiring change-makers will kick-start a new round of ideas. The second event will also include updates on progress from the initial groups that took ideas forward.

A final wrap-up event planned for February 2020, aims to bring the two Common Treasury cohorts together with local councils, the LEP, NHS trusts and housing associations to listen and learn together, developing strategies to support the Common Treasury of Ideas and the progress made.


Alongside the showcase event on April 25th, The Common Treasury, a digital platform for sharing great ideas – will shortly be open to all.

Anybody can post links to inspiring projects and ideas they’ve come across by adding a short description of up to 200 words and why it could be a great addition to Hastings.

If people have ideas for inspiring speakers, they can post them on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Common-Treasury-2080012318701752/ and posts will contribute to the selection of the second group of speakers invited to share their great ideas at the October showcase.

To be added to the guest list, or for further information, email hello@commontreasury.org.uk

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