Hold on

So there I was all smug because I’d stuck to a New Years resolution to write a blog a month for like 10 months when writers block struck! After missing two (well one by a mere 12 days) and having four drafts on the go, I have poured myself a cherry brandy (random festive alcohol has officially taken over) and here goes….

We are all thinking about what we hold dear and what we have to hold on to as our lives and the world have changed this year.

My little late night evening walk to change the advent box reminded me of this when I opened tomorrow’s box by our Soup Corner volunteers (featured above). Their tiny team held on through Lockdown 1 and were just quietly, steadily absolutely amazing as other support systems fell away for people and they stepped up. Massive shout out to Dagmar who has volunteered with Soup Corner for over three years and has stepped away right now but brought so much strength and joy to the street this year – there is always a space for you Dagmar.

It’s been tough, we are all grieving for people and experiences that we have lost this year. People in Team Nudge and our close circle of do-ers have lost family and friends at the toughest of times, when we can’t hold on to each other and we’ve lost so many of our usual ways of coping. Without doubt a massive loss to the street is the super amazing, bonkers, creative, think outside the box Rachael from the Scrapstore who sadly passed away a few weeks ago, our heart goes out to her family and all at the Scrapstore. Rachael was the inspiration behind our gorgeous giant yellow pompoms after finding a roll of scrap.

Pompoms made from scrap that Rachael found for us

We all deal with loss differently, it takes time and together we have to hold on. When my little brother died a few years ago I remember clearly having a pint with Wendy at the Lord High and literally holding on to the bar. It changed me and definitely pushed me to be brave enough to be half of starting Nudge – because what is life if you are not making all the impact you can? So as well as processing our collective trauma, lets all think about what this year could push us to do? What is the change we’re going to nurture and make part of our future?

At times in Nudge it has felt like we just have to hold on to the roller coaster – we did good stuff in response to Covid-19, we have opened The Plot and it feels pretty special, we made the street party happen in the ‘jaws of a pandemic’, and we bought the Millennium. We’ve also started working with some very special people that we didn’t know in January and now feel part of the change – the fabulous Jabulani crew, the inspiring Omnium Radio and the Mountain Bike Collective are just some and we love they have found a home in our buildings. The families next door have been doing more at The Plot and have exciting plans to make improvements out the back, they’ve decorated a beautiful tree and are setting up their own community group.

The past few months has seen so much overwhelming support and excitement – it has quiet literally been overwhelming, but it has helped us hold on and know deep down that we are nudging what is wanted and needed. The lovely stuff hides a load of work that can be really tough, with plenty of things not working or not going our way. Inside of Nudge – Wendy is working her magic with our finances and tackling some of the trickiest parts of keeping Nudge running, and the rest of the team are caring for our connections, keeping things open in our buildings, and doing events in whatever way is allowed at that point of time, and we’re making the first tiny steps inside Millennium.

Well the highs are definitely matched with lows – that’s the bit we don’t often share! The thing is, this year we are all pretty tired now and the future is more uncertain than ever. What is certain is that the need, awareness and support for community ownership and businesses is stronger than ever. It feels like now is the time to do business differently and rethink what we value most. We are lucky enough to take part in conversations about that kind of stuff and be in a position to try and find ways that would work in our community – as we adjust we are excited to experiment and see what could happen.

So this old jumble of things resulted in writers block! It’s strange when you feel stressed all the good things go out the window…bye bye healthy food, exercise, sleep, and normally my reset button – a good night out…obviously not possible! Hello – to insecurities and way to much thinking space being taken up by whether we are good enough, taking on to much, scared/brave/stupid, not replied to something or made a mistake – whilst actually keeping going is all we need to do. We need to stop thinking people are expecting or waiting for us to fail, and feel all the love and support that comes from you and many, many others. This was highlighted by the support from our shareholders this month – we love that you believe in us.

So shoulders back, head up. We are ending the year with a staff team of 6 – welcome Amie!!! Plus a strong board caring for Nudge, brilliant new tenants using our spaces – some mentioned above, lots of local organisations thriving around us, and plenty of plans for Millennium well on their way. And a load of fab little businesses that help us make things happen – in particular we need to give a massive shout to our sparky Jay who has literally kept the lights on and been there day and night…yes, literally.

It’s not easy but it wouldn’t be worth doing if it was. Let’s all keep holding on.

Hannah, Wendy and all at Team Nudge xxxx