Growing through complicated times

Anxiety is high, guidance is everywhere, certainty is hard to find, everything is risky and we are tired when we need to be brave…and yet it is feeling like we can grow.

It’s been a month of extremes – the team is back but at a distance. We have scrubbed ceilings, painted floors, loaded skips, dug soil and laid turf – our buildings and spaces are looking great, we are loving a risk assessment, and we are all a little stronger!

We have also had people shouting at us, getting upset, damaging things and reacting in unexpected ways. The Pandemic and Black Lives Matter have affected us all – but all in different ways. Now is an important time for communities to discover the stepping stones across uncertain waters together.

This will take time. We have been exploring ways that trauma informed approaches can work in communities. There are key areas to consider and explore including finding ways to feel safe, to trust and be open, to learn, support each other, collaborate, find our voice, make choices and understand the impact of culture, history and gender. This is at the heart of so much that we do already, but there is so much more to learn and do as we recover together. Step by step.

Lots of tough times ahead, but there has also been so much JOY!!!

Lot’s of local creative people have been bringing joy and colour to the streets. Things that had been planned months and months ago are now spilling out into the street in gorgeous ways – Tom Loveders’ canopies using Calvins’ photos are up thanks to Outersight UK, Pete Clayton has been working his magic at Union Corner and Cam Rose has painted a Haiku poem across the entrance, and Wonderzoo have been in the queue! Public spaces are so important to how we feel, and never more so than now. Here’s a little look at some of the latest love on the street:

Last month we asked people to be kind and talk to us as we open back up and learn how to implement all the guidance. The first Manor Street Market was fun, gentle and a beginning, thank you to everyone who came along to support us! Jess played her tunes, Robert shared his water colour skills, the Scrapstore gave out ‘making bags’ and people enjoyed a cuppa, whilst browsing plants, bric-a-brac and crafts for sale. We tested out seating in Palace Square and launched Tom’s canopies.

In complicated times, simple things are so important. Saying hello to our neighbours, having a chat over some soup, sharing lockdown crafts and reconnecting with the businesses along the street is what makes our community work. We do this everyday to listen and weave in ideas and adapt what we do to meet local need.

We welcomed new local business Hedgerow Hound into our community, check them out at the back of The Clipper. We said hello again to No Whey for take out only. We also welcomed the Diversity Business Incubator and their Jabulani venture starting up in The Plot soon (watch this space!). Then what with Cawfee, A Taskinah, Bon Appetit, the Lord High Admiral Hub collab with the Hutong, Tilt and Knead pizza all opening back up- Union Street is the place to come to support local business and fill your tummy with delicious food.

Our project with Borrow Don’t Buy to refurbish and find new homes for unused laptops and tablets is making a real difference. It has helped many young people to access learning in lockdown for the first time, supported people to apply for jobs, sort out their life admin and keep in touch with each other. The feedback has been amazing and a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has been donating devices. Borrow Don’t Buy have now secured funding from the National Lottery Fund to keep scaling their project bringing more devices to those that need them, which is brilliant news!

So it’s been a strange month, we continue to grow our impact one day at a time and loving seeing others grow alongside us. This month we hope to see our new turf grow! We will be recruiting local young people for holiday jobs to grow local skills. We will be opening up The Plot and we are really excited to see the Scrapstore’s new sign going up! So much to look forward to, we hope to see you on the street …from a distance.

Love Hannah, Wendy and all at Team Nudge

P.S It is Co-op Fortnight!! Listen out for Wendy live on this webinar this week.

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