We have seen so much change, love, ups and downs, stresses, tears and laughter over the last month.
Life can feel a bit like a big tangled mess some days. Here at Nudge we have been gradually untangling the threads and thinking about what that might mean for us, the economy and our community and we thought we would share some of those thoughts with you all this month.
As we shared last time we’ve been busy doing what we can to respond to local need and looking towards what we can be doing as restrictions are lifted, check out out our page for more details. We are also thinking about what the future could be like and what we can do to influence those big conversations with our little nudges.
Let’s not be naive, there will be people capitalising on this situation – the businesses that sadly fail, the gaps that emerge, and the uncertain economic climate create opportunities for people who can invest. As the public are valuing community connections and local businesses who have supported them through this time, perhaps there is an opportunity to invest in a way that secures more local benefit and to move some of the things that are at the heart of the social enterprise and community business sector into mainstream conversations and discussions.
So is this the time for a kinder economy and what could that look like?
Before the days of Nudge we had a great conversation with the Principal at Plymouth College of Art talking about how anchors in a high street could be redefined, traditionally it’s big chain retail that are considered the important anchors in our towns and cities… but now as so many of these are closing and our habits are changing are they really the kind of anchors we need? What if anchors in our high street are the locally owned buildings and spaces that people really connect with? What if they don’t need to be big in size but can be big in impact?
Perhaps our anchors will become the businesses and organisations that have reconnected with their core values and have responded to this time with open hearts, care and generosity? Rather than choosing who to buy from perhaps we’ll be choosing who we buy into and grow the number of people that see their spending as an investment in local business and local people as well as buying what they need.
Our board really looked at the triple bottom line to make a number of financial decisions this month that were driven by wanting to care and invest in the individuals we work with and the businesses that use our spaces, and recognising the wider value of that to our local economy.
One organisation we have bought into this month is Borrow Don’t Buy. They are fixing up old laptops and devices that people have at home that they no longer use so we can gift them to people who are struggling with school work and services that have all had to go on-line, and make use of the free wifi we have set up along Union Street. Initially it seemed that buying new devices would be cheaper, but when you look at the economic impact of paying someone local, the environmental impact or reusing, and the social impact of investing in a local social enterprise – it really added up to the right decision, value is a lot more than just money. Please have a look in your cupboards and see if there’s anything you could contribute, we can collect or you can drop them off at Union Corner just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Feeling happier and cared for on the edge
We talk about the edge in lots of different ways at Nudge. We’ve definitely been on the edge of our comfort zones during the last month, but although it’s not always comfy it is where exciting things start to happen. There are people that are helping us to feel ok being there and trying new things, our networks of support and advice including Plymouth Octopus Project, the University of Plymouth, Plymouth Culture and Plymouth Social Enterprise Network are all sharing experiences, learning and making connections to enable bigger lasting impact by adding up the local love to create citywide change.
Many organisations are finding themselves on the edge financially as traded income disappears but the bills just keep coming. It’s been amazing to see the quick response from so many funders to listen and adapt to needs incredibly quickly, and to participate in discussions about how they can support community businesses over the coming years.
Our volunteers are still busy making free food every week, with over 160 lunches being handed out last week, keeping our volunteers safe as they work on the edge has been really important. Jo from Mrs Marvellous made gorgeous masks and PPE for them making sure they feel cared for as they care for others.
Plymouth is on the edge as a coastal city. If you want to explore that geography more, Clan-Kind have pivoted their brilliant project that was happening at Unions Corner. The very lovely and super knowledgeable Tess is now doing a virtual forage of Devils Point next week – well worth checking out to add some difference to your daily walk.
As we move forward let’s support each other to feel happier exploring all our edges and see them as opportunities to collaborate, care and innovate but also make sure we catch each other if we happen to fall off our edge in the process!
Over the coming months let’s notice the new gaps in the market and gaps in our community and collectively figure out who or what could fill them. More and bigger is not always better, there is joy and productivity in being small, brave and nimble. We will be trying to look after the little and the big things that make a difference, and lift others as we climb, then hopefully we will see a kinder economy and a stronger community as we all find our way through this together.
Look out for the new edition of Stonehouse Voice available on-line and coming through local doors, and don’t forget if you are isolating and you need anything call our Stonehouse Support Line 07868728298.
We miss you all. Lots of love
Wendy, Hannah and all at Team Nudge xxx