Looking on the bright side – Midsummer update

Hello everyone – Greetings from grassroots Britain where, no matter how you vote (or don’t!), the key to navigating topsy-turvy times is to get together and do stuff that benefits everyone in the neighbourhood (and beyond).

Most of the projects starring in the Directory have been created in response to current crises, whether global climate change or local economic downturn: repair cafes that regenerate relationships between people as well as umbrellas and mobile phones, community-run bakeries and cafes where everyone can discuss what goes down in the area, local currencies that keep money in local circulation, tool libraries that share shears and stories, allotments that share beans and raspberries, alongside labour and laughs.

Here’s one of our favourite kind of hubs, the South London Makerspace, whose members own, run and maintain three workshop spaces with sewing machines, 3D printing, woodworking, laser cutting, electronics and more:

‘We’re not just a workshop; we’re also a community. We have regular social events, and meetups. Members are encouraged to work on their projects with each other, to collaborate and share skills and knowledge. We also take care of the workshops together. With no paid staff, everyone has to pitch in to keep things safe and tidy.’

Meanwhile as summer kicks in (rather soggily) and elderflowers are foraged and tables set for street parties, we are happy to report that The Grassroots Directory has passed the half way mark and is now 56% funded. We’ve had a busy month sorting out some great projects that have come through from the now long-running sewing cafe in Lancaster and the recently established Glasgow Pound to the just-renovated Real Junk Food Sheffield and the upcoming two-wheeled festival of Tour de Tooting on 3rd July.

This week we’re also going up to London to the Demain (Tomorrow) premiere. This is the documentary by Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent that has stormed France and had over a million viewers since it launched last December during COP21 in Paris. It’s a world-wide investigation into ‘the most successful experiments in agriculture, energy, habitat, economy, education and democracy, and pieces together a puzzle that might ‘tell a new story of the future’.

Here’s to finding that missing piece of blue sky…

Images: Brixton Pound fiver, designed by Jeremey Deller; Restart party in Belsize Library, by Jonathan Goldberg; Big Lunch, England 2016

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