What happens when you combine the energy of over 100 local people with five inspiring examples of social change, delivered by a group of passionate presenters, in the awe-inspiring setting of St Mary’s in the Castle?
What happens is that people find common ground – weaving a web of new connections by having creative conversations about what’s important to us all – people, places and concern for the planet. And then a kind of ‘local alchemy’ takes place – where people, ideas and energy come together to form a commitment to social change.
That’s what happened on Thursday, October 24th, when The Common Treasury Adaptable Ideas ran its second showcase event at St Mary’s in the Castle – the first was in April.
The Common Treasury of Adaptable Ideas (CT) is a year-long initiative designed to bring innovative social-change makers from across the UK to Hastings to share their experiences. Each event consists of a morning session of inspiration, when passionate presenters introduce their ‘Ideas from Elsewhere’, followed by an afternoon of perspiration, when participants work together on ‘Making it Happen in Hastings’.
CT is generously funded by Power to Change and was supported, in this instance, by the RSA SouthEast.
October’s showcase featured a stellar line-up of community activists and social-change agents, including:
- Dr Afsheen Rashid (Repowering London) who described the generative effects of work being done across London to develop community-owned, renewable-energy networks.
- Warren Carter and Iain Chambers, the dynamic duo who changed the menu at The Bevy pub in Moulsecomb to transform it from run-down wreck to community treasure chest.
- Rebecca Trevalyan and Joe Duggan (The Library of Things and Transition Town Crystal Palace) who wanted to see what life could be like if we all owned less and shared more.
- Sally Lowndes, (The Onion Collective, Watchet) who’s a small and inspirational example of the power of women (and mushrooms) to transform industry and energy in a ‘deprived’ town.
- Rob Hopkins (Transition Town network) whose stories of imagination and social entrepreneurship from around the world reminded us all that there is reason for optimism as we navigate the journey to a carbon-free 2030.
Using the energy and passion of the morning to power their conversations, participants worked together to debate define, develop, and decide on five ideas to take forward:
A Hastings Pound
Could some form of complimentary currency – based on time, money, crypto-currencies, LETS, GEMS or whatever – support a more sustainable local economy?
The Ministry of Civic Imagination
What could we learn from the Ministries in Bologna or Mexico City about reimagining and re-energising relationships between people, places and local authorities?
What could we do to reshape the traditional concept of industry to fit the needs of our 21st century Hastings? What skills and capacities do we have – and what do we need to develop?
Can fungi-powered bio-recycling save the planet? How can the Watchet’s waste-disposal wizardry be adapted locally?
1066 USP (Unique Selling Point)
We often overlook our town’s significant historical, cultural and geographical assets. What more could we be doing to celebrate and safe-guard our common ground?
The Wild Card
From electric buses to The Library of Things – what do we need to implement these bright ideas? How might alternative educational approaches support the transition to a cleaner, greener, happier Hastings?
Following the showcase event, groups will continue to come together as part of Taking-it-Forward, a process which includes mentoring time from the presenters and a small budget to co-ordinate and support next steps.
In addition, the conversations will continue later this month at the second Taking-it-Forward Potluck Supper on Thursday, November 28th, from 6.30 to 9pm, at Home Ground Kitchen, in the basement of Rock House. People just bring a dish, share a meal and use time together to draw on the collective intelligence of the group to inspire, motivate and sustain action.
If you would like to attend the Taking-it-Forward Potluck supper you’ll need to book and a link will be posted soon.
If you come across a great idea you think Hastings could benefit from, share it and help build The Common Treasury at www.commontreasury.org.uk
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