February – growing together

From opening The Plot to sharing love songs and making beautiful windows – we’ve been growing our connections, impact and our learning with so many different people and organisations this month…here are just a few highlights and reflections…

Operation greenhouse – Plot 34

A whole new form of team building occurred at the beginning of this month as we battled with tricky instructions to build a greenhouse ready for the Uni to kick start the Health Tech project in our community. Despite the usual flatpack ‘heated moments’ we remained friends!!!

Plot 34 is named because the community living along Union Street is statistically one of the worst for health outcomes – 34th out of over 32,000 areas. We are exploring what this feels like, what it means for people and what we could do as a community to change this. The University of Plymouth are at The Plot every Tuesday and Wednesday from 12-5pm and more events will be out soon – anyone can pop in, have a go with the tech, ask questions and get involved.

Growing together

We were honoured to be the venue for the RISE programme end of year celebration with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and funded by the Rank Foundation. There were so many fabulous social businesses under one roof! From local talent along the street like Makers HQ and the Scrapstore, to FotoNow and the Diversity Business Incubator it was all fantastic. It was great to see new businesses starting out playing their part – including yummy food from people like M to M and No Whey, to Augmented Reality from Igneous Interactive – all these greenshoots are a great sign that social enterprises are thriving in the city.

Too often we think that businesses outside the city are fancier or more experienced, but you can’t put a price on local knowledge and care. We are committed to spending as much of our budget within a mile. As we see things taking shape we wanted to shout out to the local talent and the importance of supporting local businesses. Big Ups have been working on the wall by The Plot, Outerstage helping us puzzle out the practicalities of making things happen on the street, 51 Studio helping us build our brand to name just a few. Plymouth Design Forum are also shouting about local talent and we’re excited to be collaborating with them on a couple of projects that should appear on the street over the next couple of months.

Creativity all over the place!

We have had some really special free workshops in our spaces over the last month where lovely creativity and connections are happening. From kicking of whispering windows with the some fun window displays, exploratory walks and Wonderzoo writing love poems and songs for residents – there has been no shortage of lovely moments and connections. Projects like Clankind and Flying Colours happening in our space also adds up to more creative opportunities for local people to join in with.

We are staying true with our Nudge learning about bringing spaces into use by having volunteers and local people contributing to the layers of loveliness at The Plot early on. Working with Anna, a local artist, we’re creating a wall of flowers made by local people up a big walls. It’s not too late to join in and add your mark to The Plot.

There is going to be a lot more over the summer so let us know what you would like to do or see and we’ll see what we can make happen.

Stitching out the stress

The 24/7 nature of what we are doing is a challenge – it doesn’t matter whether we are down the pub, at the supermarket chances are we talk about Nudge; we think Nudge when we eat, sleep…pretty much all the time – this is SO lovely, but sometimes we just need to switch off and both of Hannah and Wendy have been doing this by making plants and vegetables for The Plot – who knew a little carrot stitching or dandelion crocheting can put the world to rights!

Taking time

Nudge now has the momentum to make fundamental lasting change to our community which is what we could only have dreamt of a couple of years ago, it’s taken a load of work behind the scenes. Hannah and Wendy have been questioning how we use our time, so please know that if we take a while to get back to you, it is because we don’t want our days to pass by dealing with emails or calls and not speaking to people on the street and focusing on the things we love and we know make a difference.

Building on strong foundations

We’ve come a long way, it was never planned, but when Laura picked out some pictures from 4 years ago for Valentines Day – with no Union Corner, and looking back at special moments, it was a good reminder to take time to recognise the years of love and activity that are resulting in us being able to scale and grow in really exciting ways.

We often think what we are doing is not ‘high enough quality’, ‘not professional enough… then this month we attended a business training course that talked about minimum viable product. We realised that this is what Nudge does in lots of ways – get buildings safe, get them open and go from there; give an event a go and learn if people like it etc. We are loving the fact we have a fancy name for this approach now. Coupled with all the lovely feedback we are getting we are 100% sure we are on the right track. We’ll keep talking and listening to you all and hopefully it will stay that way!

Thank you for all the help, love and support we have had this month. We are off to Cawfee tonight, a fantastic local cafe to celebrate the leap year. Bring on March!

Love Hannah, Wendy and all at Team Nudge xxx

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