Social Media Connecting People During An Emergency

A while ago I was invited to talk at the Walsall Brew Camp  about my experiences using Social Media in the aftermath of the New Zealand earthquakes that devastated the city Christchurch, Having family who lost their home in the quake and living so far away I used social media heavily in the time  immediately after to keep my self informed. While there Sasha Taylor asked if I would blog about my experience for VOST UK – the United Kingdom Virtual Operation Support Teamso I did and i was posted last week while I was on holiday- and now I’m sharing that post here with you;

On September 4th 2010 a 7.1 magnitude earthquake ripped through the city of Christchurch, shaking people from their beds and while 2 people were seriously injured no one was killed, no buildings collapsed and while there were millions of dollars of structural damage, the city felt like it had dodged a bullet. Repair work and structural surveys were undertaken quickly and although the residents were still being shaken on a regular basis life quickly returned to normal.

I watched this all unfold from afar, reading the local news from sites such as the New Zealand Herald and TVNZ from my home here in the UK. At that point in time I’d never been to New Zealand but had, and still have, family out there. My uncle emigrated there in the 1980′s and is married with 3 children; Christchurch was their home so I was interested in staying up to date to check they were ok.

Photo: Geoftheref

In the months following Sept 4th hundreds of aftershocks rocked the city, small tremors were a daily, even an hourly occurrence, the most notable being a magnitude 4.9 on Boxing Day that caused yet more damage but again no deaths and things looked to be settling down. That was until February 22nd 2011.

At 12:51pm a 6.3 magnitude ripped the heart out of the city. It was the middle of the night here and I knew nothing of it until I sleepily switched on the UK breakfast news.

New Zealand is a quake prone area falling within the “pacific ring of fire” an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska and down through the South Pacific. Small shakes are not an unusual occurrence there but quakes that make the headline news in the UK are. I knew this one was bad – I reached for my phone.

I managed to get through to my family first time, they sounded awful the call was brief and punctuated with the sound sirens in the background. My heart broke as listened to their shock as my family told us of the devastation around them and the damage to their home and of those that had lost their lives – I established that they were all still alive and relatively well and hung up, It was a small mercy that I have managed to get through to them at all, It was over a week before I managed to get through again. Twitter was my saviour.

As I was talking to my family on that initial morning I was already searching for any related news online and quickly discovered the hashtags that were most commonly being used by people in the city. I set up search streams for them, and any other words most likely related to the area in Hootsuite. I was determined that if I couldn’t speak to my family because their communication systems were down then I was going to be as informed as I could be to reassure myself that they were well.

GeoNet Project LogoI kept track of the location and severity of aftershocks via Geonet  (168 of them in the first 72 hours!!!) the depth and distance from the centre of the city allowing me to judge the likelihood of it affecting my family home any further. I talked to residents on the ground that were more than happy to share their experience and information from the stricken area. I quickly became very knowledgeable on the effects of quakes related to their depth vs distance from the epicentre, the geography on Christchurch and its suburbs and the damage liquefaction– when the shaking in the ground turns previously solid ground to liquid – can cause.

To begin with local residents used twitter as a cathartic release for people on the ground sharing their stories and to talk to anyone about the nightmare that was unfolding around them but soon there was a definitive shift from just talking and release towards information sharing and help offering. Residents from other areas of New Zealand were offering rooms for quake refugees to stay in. Locals were offering clean water and organising food drives but for me the most useful updates came from official accounts allowing me to be able to feel like I was doing something to help my family from the other side of the world.

Christchurch City Council, who had never been on twitter before set up an account and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority who set up their account after the 7th Sept quake reappeared. They quickly established which was the most commonly used hash tag #eqnz and quickly started picking up on news – retweeting really useful information and sending out their own updates.

I took note as telecommunication companies stopped all charges from their payphones to aid communications on the ground  and checked Google earth to find the nearest box to Uncles home, I listed the school gyms that ware opening to offer residents showers and found all the times the army would be on the beach pumping and purifying water from the sea to make it safe to drink. I found information about community rallies and EQC information points and food drops and much more – I took all this from the Council and CERA so when I finally managed to get through to my family again I didn’t feel so helpless, I had something useful to share with them, a lot of which they knew nothing about themselves having spent the week with no electricity, no plumbing and sleeping in their garden.

Community

As well as all the information I was getting from the “official” sources I was still talking to people on the ground finding out what life was really like, getting the bits of information that are missed from news reports or that my family didn’t want to tell us in case we worried. Things weren’t great out there, so it was in awe I watched as out of the remains of the city an amazing community rose. Using twitter and other social platforms to coordinate themselves people in the west – who were not directly affected by the quake – were baking on mass and then walking the streets of the devastated eastern suburbs handing cakes, sandwiches and drinks to residents.

Farmy Army at work

Students led by Sam Johnson resurrected the Student Volunteer Army that had helped with the clean-up post September quake. Up to 1500 students walked the streets shovelling silt and liquefaction from peoples home. Farmers came together to form the Farmy Army and drove into the city on mass with trailers full of food to distribute and shovels in hand to help with the clean-up.

Individuals were driving in from all over the south island offering support and any help they could and people from all over both islands were using the #tag to offer rooms for people to stay in. They were stories of real people coming together, making difference to each other. I read of one family who after their house was destroyed opted to stay in the city, pitching a tent on a traffic island and woke every morning to find bread and fresh milk outside of their makeshift home. There were so many stories I wish I could share them all. It was heartening to see and to know I could relay these stories to my family giving them something, maybe hope, from so far away.

Imogen Heap - photo from stuff.co.nz align=While all this was going on we were also trying to do something practical to help. My partner James works with a musician Imogen Heap – she wanted to do something to help the area and as she was touring Australia she thought a charity concert actually in Christchrch would help but her Australian promoter didn’t think it would be appropriate, or welcome at that time, but we suspected otherwise.

Using twitter and the #eqnz tag we asked locals for their thoughts and finally got in touch with a local councillor, who we put in touch with Immi’s management to make it happen – bizarrely at the same time we happened to be in the country but as we were out backpacking we were unable to attend!

By the time I finally flew out there at the end of April I was well versed in the names of local councillors and service providers. I could talk with them knowledgably about zoning and the insurance processes and the ever changing road closures. I met with people I had been talking to online and I visited areas I’d read so much about and we experienced for ourselves the constant shakes and shudders that still shocked the city with a 5.1 shaking us from our beds at 3 o’clock in the morning. I had a greater respect for how they were living, understanding what all the locals meant when they kept referring to “the new normal” and the upmost respect for the authorities who were trying to deal with the mass scale of it all.

Returning home I continued to watch the #tag but with less urgency. The aftershocks appeared to be receeding and I’d seen for myself that my family were safe, then on June 13th just as everything appeared to be quietening down the city was once again shook to its core by a double whammy 2 huge aftershocks in quick succession, a 5.7 and a 6.3 which this time was just too much for my families home. Interior walls came crashing down around them and the whole house moved off its foundation and over an artisan well in their garden.

The subsequent months weren’t great for them, a crumbing house where it was too dangerous to go upstairs, rising damp from the well under their floorboards, a cold wet miserable winter spend sleeping on their kitchen floor and I became anxious again, scouring the internet to reassure myself they were ok so it was a relief when I discovered their insurance claim was being dealt with and they could start looking to the future.

They’ve since moved and bought a house and a cafe in the neighbouring town of Darfield. They are doing great, sad about leaving their family home but are moving forwards and are planning on opening a bed & breakfast in time for the next skiing season.

It was a rollercoaster few months for them and for the rest of the family who were so far away and unable to help, but thanks to social media making the world a much smaller place we were as informed as we could be in uncertain times.

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Zorba’s Beach Hotel – a review

For the last few years every time we’ve booked a holiday we’ve checked out the reviews of the places we’ve stayed on trip advisor, and have always threatened to add our own on our return, We never have, until this year. I’ve just submitted this review or our stay at the Zorba’s Beach Hotel in the resort of Tigaki on Kos, Greece.

We’ve just returned from a one week break at the Zorba’s Beach, and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Reception: We arrived and my first though was woo this is hot as the reception area isn’t well air conditioned but we soon became acclimatised and it was ok during our stay even though the out side temperatures reached 36degrees some days. I was concerned however with the glass topped coffee tables – when coming in from outside and a little sun-blind these could be lethal you just couldn’t see them, I more than once saw someone clattering into them – including my son who drew blood on his shin.

Rooms: We were a group of 5 in 2 rooms near the back of the hotel which were we’re clean and well maintained. We only had cause to call maintainence once when the wheel fell of a bed due to wear and tear, but it was dealt with incredibly quickly and didn’t cause a problem – the interiors were what you would expect from a all inclusive four star hotel – comfortable with the basics like fridge, hair dryer, safety deposit box and essential air conditioning, My only complaint was the shower was hand held and not wall mounted – I like a good shower and this was left a little lacking for me.

On site entertainment: There are 3 pools – a family pool, a quiet pool and an adult only pool. We mainly used the family pool as my 12 year old son enjoys taking part in the activities and of course our holiday favourite Water Polo. It was always kept clean – and was as you’d expect full of kids and could get loud – but that’s what the other pools were for if you didn’t like that. We used the quite pool one day – which is used by families but away from the entertainment – it over looks the sea and there is very little shelter when the sun is up high so avoid if you like to sit out but in the shade. We didn’t use the adult only pool at all.

Onsite there was also table tennis, football pitch, volleyball, tennis court, basket ball all of which we saw being used but didn’t join in as it was way too hot! ( and we’re too lazy)

The entertainment team I have mixed reviews for they were brilliant with the kids but I felt at the beginning of the week when we first arrived more effort could have been made to include new families in the pool side activities. But in saying that they worked HARD – with an entertainment programme starting early, running most of the day and then the same team putting on the evening shows. I’d like to give a glowing review of their performances jut for effort alone – but the jury is still out for me after seeing the musical evening – which consisted of what I can only describe as karaoke club remixes of your favourite musicals Dub Step Sound of music anyone? it was most definitely not for me.

Food and Drink: All Inclusive food and drink was exactly as I expected buffet food, snack bars and local drinks finishing at 11pm – There wasn’t as much choice as in some all inclusive resorts I’ve stayed in but there was enough to keep me happy – the salad bar was varied and plentiful and my son made short work of trying one of everything on the deserts most evenings.

There was a Greek dish on offer most days which was lovely, I always despair when I read food reviews that say “there wasn’t enough English food” – I was in Greece and I wanted Greek fair – If’ I’d wanted fish chips and mushy peas I’d have gone to Blackpool.

We used the Al a Carte restaurant one evening , which alternates from Italian to Greek and we timed it to sample the Greek food – it was lovely and as with the main restaurant the staff friendly and incredibly hard working – you’re welcome 😉

The only down sides for me were the snack bar – pancakes, hotdogs, burgers and cakes – there were no healthy choices, but the ice cream on tap was a plus point in the heat we experienced – and the pool bar, we sat by the pool bar a few evenings away from the main bar and the entertainment but the speakers still blared out the audio from the main bar, it would have been nicer if this was switched off – especially as it’s situated behind the stage so you can’t see what’s going on anyway.

Location: Zorba’s is located a little way out of the resort of Tigaki – a good 20 minute walk which I wouldn’t attempt in the midday sun, there is a bus that stops right out side the hotel that runs through Tigaki and onto Kos Town but read the time table carefully. At first glance it looks to run hourly both ways- but that’s not the case in the middle of the day 1hr 15 mins we ended up waiting for a return bus from Kos as I’d misread the timetable. Bus fares to Tigaki €1.80 and to Kos €2.00. We did get a taxi back from Tigaki one evening which only cost €6.00 and could be more cost effective for small groups.

The beach directly opposite the hotel is tiny – and I mean tiny but turn right out of the doors and 2 mins up the road is a wider quieter beach, turn left and 10 mins away is the main resort beaches with all the associated activities you would expect.

Excursions: We booked with Tigaki Tours as opposed to the reps on site ( as regular trip goers while on holiday we find you always get the same trips but cheaper if you book yourself locally) . There was a good choice of excursions but we opted for the 3 island cruise, which at €35 per adult (half price for children) including transfers and dinner was good value – and worth doing for a relaxing day.

Overall we were very happy with the hotel and our holiday and would happily recommend it to friends – and keep your eye out for sunsets over the bay, they’re stunning.

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Posted in TripAdvisor

Repost: Helping out behind the scenes

Re-posting this as a look at how councils and the community can work together to make things happen!

As an “active” member of Flickr (I say active this peaks and wanes depending on how busy I am in the real world) I try to get involved with the local groups – some groups are more active than others (and some are more welcoming too) but the one I am most active is the Walsall group – this is for two reasons. While I live in Wolverhampton my house is actually right on the Walsall/Wolverhampton border and a lot of my friends and extended family live in Walsall so I spend time there, and also as I have real world friends in the Walsall Group who like to organise things – photography walks, days out etc so it’s easy to get involved.

Recently however I’ve been doing some organising myself –

Walsall Council in the form of Dan Slee has been using social media, with particular focus on Flickr as a tool for community engagement. Courting the Walsall group via Lee Jordan and arranging exclusive behind the scenes trips to some of the councils buildings – the first of which was at the Council House.

After that meet the talk turned towards the museum and a  potential project there, or rather in the area the public never gets to see – in their stores.

Dan went away and approached the museum and it seemed there was a couple of concerns the curators had regarding copyright, and this is where I stepped in. As I work for a  media centre, which includes exhibition spaces I perhaps better understood some of the copyright issues regarding the photography of  other peoples art and artefacts and it was decided by Lee that I was best placed to liaise on this venture.

A meeting was arranged and Walsall museums sent me a copy of their permissions form to preview… It was archaic to say the least ,I had my work cut out for me!

The restrictions they’d placed,  that they wanted us to sign away copyright of our images and retain the right to demand us to delete our images off Flickr at any time, were going to be a problem – No member of the group would be willing to go on a shoot under these terms so it would be a none starter, yet we (Dan and the Walsall Flickr Group) were still eager to get behind the scenes.

SO WHAT DID WE DO?

In principle the Museums team were o.k for us to visit the stores but in practice it seemed to me that they didn’t fully understand Flickr and “the internet” so maybe wouldn’t really the bigger picture and the benefits a visit like this could bring  to them. The only way I could see around the problem was to find a precedent for museums allowing photographers into their “domain” and also find good examples of another museum or arts institute using Flickr.

Also I knew if I was going to ask them to let go of the reins I also was going to go prepared to offer something in exchange – I got researching!

WHERE TO START…..

My first port of call was of course Google, I started searching for names of  UK museums + Flickr – looking for official groups – set up by the institutions and not by an enthusiastic member of the community or museum websites with direct links to Flickr, within minutes I struck gold with The V&A.
They have a flickr group which they invite visitors to post their photographs to, they’d set it up themselves and had a very good level of activity within the group  –  so there was my precedent of a Museum using flickr and not only allowing, but actively encouraging photography.

Now what could I offer to Walsall that would make this idea more appealing….

Marketing – I work as a digital marketer so the idea of using the internet as a marketing tool isn’t new to me so all I had to do was sell it to the museum, so when I met with Dan, Jennifer and Catherine I went prepared, I printed off the V&A’s own guidelines to their flickr group from their website and the pages I wanted to use to highlight our perspective to the museum and I set out with a plan.

I asked the museum to loosen the reins it wanted on us putting forward a few less constraining rules as alternatives and  then put it to them that they could set up it’s their group on Flickr group BUT include a disclaimer saying any images added COULD be used for marketing purposes, We could then choose to add our photos to it if we wished. By doing it this way the museum has another point of web presence with Flickr – a pool of photographs to advertise the museum and more importantly a tool at their disposal to encourage interaction with their visitor on another level.

I suggested that once the group was established they could even invite photographs to be added to the pool to coincide with exhibitions – Having a show featuring 1970′s toys? – Get the community to add photos of their toys to the pool and then if they wanted set a laptop/projector up in the museum with with access to the Flickr group page OR a power point presentation of the images submitted – complimenting the exhibits the already have on show and encouraging visitors to see if their photo made it into the gallery!

SUCCESS

My ideas went down well – I liaised with the Walsall team and put forward my suggestions and met with no resistance what so ever. I explained the benefits for the Museum and for us in the group and why and how I thought it would work. I answered a few questions and asked a couple of my own and left the meeting on a real high – and with good cause, within days a new, less prohibitive permissions form had been drafted and a date for the visit set.

So on a cold spring morning this  is how it came that a group of photographers met in an undisclosed location and were allowed access to an area of Walsall that wouldn’t normally be opened to the public and the Museums opened their world up to a whole new marketing opportunity!

Since then Dan has informed me that the Walsall Museum Flickr Project and received national profile and was flagged up as best practice by the IdEA – this is the government organisation that seeks to raise standard across local government.

I call that a win for the Museum, a win for the Flickr group and a win for the Council!

Walsall Museums Flickr Group.
Dan Slee’s own post on the same project.

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Five Way to Wellbeing

I have thought for a long time that being part of a community, helping build something and working towards a common goal to improve things, Remembering to take time out for yourself and continually learning  has a direct impact on happiness. And today I think I was proved right.

While attending the Birmingham Social Inclusion Summit today I was handed a print out entitled Five Ways to Wellbeing and while  this is what it said;

Foresight’s Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project has drawn on state-of-the-art research from across he world to consider how to improve everyone’s mental capital and mental wellbeing through life. Evidence suggests that a small improvement in wellbeing can help to decrease some mental health  problems and also help people flourish.

The Project commissioned the Centre for Wellbeing and the New Economics Foundation to develop “five ways to wellbeing“: a set of evidence-based actions to improve personal well being. They are:

Connect….

with people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Building these connections will support and enrich everyday life.

Be active….

Go for a walk or run, step outside. Cycle. Play a game, Garden, Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.

Take notice….

Be curious. Catch sight of what’s beautiful. remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.

Keep learning….

Try something new. Rediscover and old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility in work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook yor favourite food. Set a challenge you enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.

Give….

Do something nice for a friend or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer you time. Join a community group. Look ou, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connection with the people around you.

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Sorry – I’m only human

Yesterday there was a storm in the Twitter teacup when a local council posted something to their stream that arguably with hindsight they shouldn’t have.

I saw the post and while I can’t know what happened, it looked to me that a retweet had simply been posted to the wrong account, which is easily done especially when mobile and on an app that allows multiple accounts – I know – I’ve been there!

Back in December I was having a good old rant on my personal twitter account about a man on the bus who’d upset me! I was relaying the incident to my twitter followers and restricted by Twitter’s 140 character limit this took a succession of tweets which ended with me posting  in one final tweet: “The dumb fuck”.

I somehow managed to cross post that last message and only that last message to the WV11 facebook page, potentially insulting around 3000 people.  Once I’d realised what I’d done I quickly apologised, admitting what had happened and how, thankfully nearly everyone laughed it off. You can still see the public responses to it  here, I let it stand on the site as the “damage” was done and our analytics at the time showed us only one person out of the 3000 who use our page had reported it as being offensive.

Honesty is the best policy

What I learned from this was honesty went a long way. By being up front and admitting I made a mistake and explaining how it happened (it was slip of the finger), after all it was an accident, I’m only human  – it was accepted as just that and it blew over quickly.

It is quite likely it’s the same human error that occurred yesterday.

I know WV11 is a voluntarily run site and we don’t have the same restrictions placed on us that council officers do, but I feel it important to remember that they too are only human.  Let them apologise and move on.

To use this faux pas to score political points (I’m looking at you Mr Councillor who jumped on the condemnation band wagon, among others) and potentially force a knee jerk reaction by “management” to restrict or block Twitter access can only be bad for the community who use social media to communicate with their council.

Let’s not let the naysayers blow this out of proportion. Mistakes happen to the best of us.

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Repost: The remnants of a city

Next week I’ve been invited to give a talk on my experiences using Social Media in the aftermath of the New Zealand earthquakes, Having family out there I used Social Media to keep on top of news from down under. Before I go to deliver the talk I thought  I would repost this I wrote about the damage I witnessed out there  when I visited last April/May  –

Originally posted in June 2011

Yesterday after I posted my #NZpicoftheday Dan Slee sent me a message:

Which actually should have been a challenge as New Zealand is land of beautiful scenery, but mainly comprising of the mountains and the sea, so not a lot of red…. until recently.

Post quake Christchurch is awash with red, but this is no good thing. If you’ve seentodays #NZpicoftheday you’ll know why but it meant my choice of image was already there for the taking.

I’ve been trying to avoid posting “the damage” pictures as much as possible, it felt really voyeuristic walking around the remains of people lives and snapping away. I was very aware that as a tourist I would escape the ruin but for the people who lived there, there can be no escape, this is now their new reality.  In fact taking pictures of the quake damage was one thing I didn’t do for the first 2 weeks we were there. It wasn’t until until I met “locals” with cameras, discussing where they were when the quake hit I felt confident enough to take my camera out it, seeing them made me feel less intrusive about walking around taking pictures but I still shyed away from shooting peoples homes.

Just like seeing those locals in Christchurch who changed my mind about taking the photos, Today’s picture and subsequent conversation with someone who still believed the earthquake damage was isolated to the city centre has made me rethink about posting images of the damage.

The CBD (city centre) is still cordoned off and inaccessible with buildings visibly leaning awaiting deconstruction, rubble is piled everywhere broken glass and detritus still littering every corner.

Every street in every suburb in the east of the city has damage, Houses, roads, businesses, felled trees, burst water mains munted sewerage pipes, collapsed river banks, subsidence and liquifaction is wide spread, and as you head further out into the port hills, to Sumner and Redcliffs, closer to Lyttleton and the epicentre you have to contend with all this and the added devastation rock falls and land slides.

As one New Zealander pointed out to me, this is history as it happens and someone has to record it before it all changes.

300km of sewerage pipes are in need of repairing or replacing, as a result waste is being pumped into the rivers and polluting the sea.

Sumner & Redcliffs RSA building, destroyed in a rock slide during the Feb quake, a boulder the size of my living room crashed through the rear of it.

This could be a photograph of any street corner in the city centre.

The CBD is still cordoned off, navigating the city centre is nightmare when every every second street is inaccessible and the cordons move based on risk analysis, work being undertaken and the constant threat of aftershocks.

Another street, another dead end.

3 months after the quake and glass still litters the streets, the human rescue and recovery tasks taking priority over clean up operations,

Every street is effected, this is Sumner, every household is in upheaval but from a distance it looks like nothing’s wrong, until you look closer and spot the remains of where a house once stood.

Even the footpaths in places are now impassable

When cracks appear in the road wider then your foot where do you start fixing them? – The answer – they didn’t they started with the ones big enough for someone to stand in

Whole sections of the road just shifted, this is right on the coast near Spencer Park easily and hour away from the CBD

The raw power of a quake, twisted and mangled foot bridge across the river Avon, thankfully this was damaged in the September quake which hit in the early hours of the morning so no one was on it.

Whole sections of ground have dropped by more than a metre – I wish I could say this was unique to the river banks but this subsidence is evident across the city and suburbs…

….Damage is everywhere,

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Make Shift: Changing Wolverhampton with an idea

Make:Shift is an event taking place on the 21st & 22nd September in Wolverhampton.  The premise of the event is to connect people in the community to make things happen for the better in Wolverhampton looking at using what we already have, that could be people, or assets or skills etc. There will be speakers and workshops with people doing good stuff but before then they are calling for ideas – What would you like to see happen in Wolverhampton.

I’ve submitted 2 ideas. They are:

Community Adoption

A lot of schools already run fundraising events for big charities, but what would happen if turned that energy into action locally.

If each high school in Wolverhampton adopted for just one year at a time a community need – it could be a building like a community centre or library, A play space or a person who needs help, anything taht was in the comunity the school served. The fundraising that takes place in school could be channelled towards the project and students could take part in volunteering activities around it – or arrange their own awareness raising assemblies.

Examples:

A community centre that needs a new roof and redecorating. The money the school raised could go towards the roof and the students could spend some time painting.

A young person that needs a new wheelchair, The money the school raised goes towards the chair and the students speand some time with a organisation or charity that supports people with simialr medical needs

Gap Fillers

This is an idea I picked up from New Zealand in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake but I think it can be easily used in Wolverhampton.

After the quake in NZ a lot of buildings had to be pulled down and a project sprung up to fill the gaps left behind, Unique art and community spaces.

There have been things like cycle powered cinemas, giant monopoly boards, community games, live music and book exchanges.

We could bring people and organisations into the city to look at using our empty shops in a similar way. It could be sporadic with different things and different times or my favourite a kind of festival of empty spaces with a period of time with all empty units full of unique and different interactive art projects, displays and “events”

 

What would you like to see happen? You can submit your ideas here

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