Community Ambassadors

So this week I signed up to become a community ambassador. But what does that mean….

…well nothing really. Not to me anyway.

I’ve been given this title and access to a Yammer group, a collective that are talking about great things happening in the city of Wolverhampton. The intention is that each month each of the ambassadors chooses 3 of the stories to shout about in their networks. The aim is to improve the perceptions of the city by sharing good news.

That’s it.

But I do that anyway. I try and join in #WolverhamptonHour and I share stories as I find them at other times too. I post news to Facebook and Twitter,  use WV11 to promote Wednesfield and I share stories at the various community meetings I go to, And so do others in the group.

So why does it matter that we’ve joined?
I’m not sure it does matter individually not in the grand scheme of things but, I think it matters that as group were holding our hands up and saying “Woah hang on there, things ain’t all bad around here!” We’re acknowledging that together we can make a bigger noise than with our lone voices. And if by being seen to be part of a collective that thinks positively encourages and engages others to think positively too then that’s not a bad thing to be a part of.

So I’m a Community Ambassador, are you?

Make Shift and Gap Fillers – Looking back

It’s been a couple of months since I attended Make Shift and I got to trial Gap Fillers – a project to generate more imaginative use of empty shops and spaces in the city. so I thought I’d take a quick look at where I’m at, and how I feel about the whole weekend now.

At first this project seemed like it was easy to be sustainable, find a space and use it but actually it’s a lot more resource intensive than it appears and my focus has moved once again to more local projects, but that’s not really the end of it as I’ve combined this Gap Fillers / pop up style events with other projects I’m working on in Wednesfield.

Working closely with Simon Hamilton from the LNP we’ve put on a Pop up Market Stall for the consultation on the Wednesfield Public Art project – and there are some plans being put into place for other pop up events with this project, i.e a performance piece in the Wednesfield Amphitheater outside the Library, which has already been trialed with the Carol singing and Minnie and Mickey mouse visit in that area at Christmas.

So while the Gap Fillers project is running it is slow burning and can only grow if more people use available space in creative ways.

Connections

But however slow moving Gap Fillers has developed, It is undeniable that the connections and ideas shared,have made other things happen that wouldn’t have happened if Make Shift had never taken place.

For instance the BrewCamp event held shortly after this original festival.

This came about because, having attended many events across the Midlands I had always been frustrated that there seemed little buy in for this kind of thing in Wolverhampton, Be that unconferences or just creative civic conversations. However Make Shift bought me together with a group of community members and public sector workers from across the city with an enthusiasm for this kind of informal conversation – so we tapped into that and made Brew Camp happen!

Another thing was the Community Lovers Guide to Wolverhampton – I had already decided to put together a Wolverhampton edition of this book prior to Make:Shift, but attending bought me face to face with people who were delivering amazing projects across the city and as a result accelerated the process as sourcing material became so much easier.

So while I would love Gap Fillers to become bigger, more diverse – For me the opportunity to share ideas and be inspired with, and by, people from MY home town is worth more than any out comes of the main 4 projects – I am proud to be from Wolverhampton and giving us the opportunity to shout about ourselves and the great things going on, to be able to support and encourage each other and make small things happens as a result can only build more pride in the city and a stronger community because of it!