Street Market Garden

A good, warm Street Market in Granby today. Full of friends and conversations. So I didn’t take as many photographs as I usually would, too busy talking! Anyway, here they are – minus donkey rides, as they’d already finished for the day before I ambled round with my camera.

All sorts of creatures are here.

All sorts of creatures are here.

Though mostly human.

Though mostly human.

Lots of food.

Lots of food.

Bikes being fixed.

Bikes being fixed.

On a sunny day in Liverpool 8.

On a sunny day in Liverpool 8.

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Liverpool Urban Renaissance

Granby 4 Streets Market, from 10 ’til 3, today 4th July.

Meanwhile a reflection on where we are – and how it all feels at the moment.Renaissance - 1A few weeks ago I wrote emotionally on here about the how tos and joys and frustrations of urban renaissance. Of being involved in bringing new life back to places long condemned to death by the vicissitudes of time and public policies.

“There is no one method. And even when you all make one up and decide what you want to do and how you want to do it to get to where most of you want to go in your place, it will change by the day depending on how you are all feeling:

  • Some days those of you who are ‘good at the detail’ won’t be able to be bothered with ‘all that crap’
  • And those of you who are ‘always able to see the best in everyone’ will sometimes think just the opposite of that and will find you’ve just let everyone know in no uncertain terms.
  • Other days life will happen and the thing you’ve planned, dreamed of and applied for competently and confidently will be knocked back for no good reason you’re going to be able to see that day.
  • Or more than a few of us will have forgotten to put on our superhero suits on the same day and so stand revealed as the fragile, maybe tired and sometimes even lonely human beings we in fact are.

Because that’s all we are and that’s what we are and that’s the whole of what we are. And what’s wrong with that? It’s complicated and we are all of us only learning. But now and then and gradually over time, and all of us together in all of this, we might get somewhere. We might see some improvement.”

Then since writing that I’ve been relatively quiet on this blog, because life has turned out to be exactly as described above.

But we are, as they say ‘getting there.’ Continue reading

On the road to Emmaus

I’ve visited Emmaus in Leeds twice now and find their approach to ending homelessness unusual but inspirational. So I thought you might appreciate a look around at what they do.

“At Emmaus we’re working together to end homelessness.

We know that overcoming homelessness often means more than a roof over your head. That’s why Emmaus supports people to work their way out of homelessness, providing meaningful work as well a stable home for as long as someone needs it.”

Emmaus Leeds.

Emmaus Leeds, one of 25 Emmaus Communities across the UK.

Each time I’ve visited I’ve been with people from social enterprise bus company HCT Group, showing them the breadth of potential activities for social enterprises. And Emmaus are very much a social enterprise. The people who live here also work here and elsewhere in Leeds, selling the stuff they make and repair, as we’re about to see. Continue reading

Listening to Africa: Africa Oyé 2015

Africa Oye - 1As you can see, our irrepressible Tommy Calderbank did eventually bring the sun out with the sheer force of his optimistic personality, but for the first couple of hours of today’s Africa Oye in Sefton Park it was a different and wetter story.

I needed Africa Oyé today. For various reasons to do with this being a blog and not a diary I needed the healing joy that this free festival has been bringing to my life for well over 20 years now. These have been tough weeks and it was time for some time for me.

To celebrate Liverpool in the best way I know.

To celebrate Liverpool in the best way I know.

Enthusiastically welcomed as ever.

Enthusiastically welcomed as ever.

A team of signers helping out this year too.

A team of signers helping out this year too.

But I arrived for lunch in heavy rain.

But I arrived for lunch in heavy rain.

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Street of the Year? Cairns Street in Granby.

 

Granby resident Hazel Tilley being interviewd about the Street of the Year nomination by Jessica Robbins of BBC Radio Merseyside.

Granby resident Hazel Tilley being interviewd about the Street of the Year nomination by Jessica Robbins of BBC Radio Merseyside.

Good news today in this press release issued jointly by Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust and Liverpool City Council

Cairns Street in Granby, this week.

Cairns Street in Granby, this week.

Coming soon after Granby 4 Streets architects Assemble being nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize for their work in Granby is the news that one of the 4 Streets, Cairns Street, has now been nominated as one of the streets up for the ‘Street of the Year’ award.

This award is given by the Academy of Urbanism, covering the UK and Ireland and award nominations are made by members of the Academy, not by representatives of the streets themselves. Awards given cover places, neighbourhoods and towns as well as the one for individual streets.

Cairns Street resident Hazel Tilley, part of the Community Land Trust currently working with other partners in the City to renovate the 150 formerly empty houses in the four remaining original Granby streets says:

‘I’m delighted that Cairns Street has been nominated for this, which is not to take anything away from the good work being done in the other three Granby streets. But if this recognition helps with what we’re all trying to do here, and I think it will, then I’m all for it.’

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Alone

DSC03941All my life I have liked spending time on my own. Though I’ve only lived on my own for short periods I did enjoy much of those times, whilst also experiencing some days, evenings and even whole weeks of acute loneliness. Longing for the company of humans I either didn’t know well enough or was too shy to reach out to. So I well know the difference between loneliness and alone.

Yes, for me ‘alone’ is pleasure. ‘Alone’ is time for me. To care only for me, follow my own instincts and the selfish wants of me alone. Time to listen to myself, literally listen. As often when I’m alone I’ll find I’m talking to myself, like I’m doing here. Sat here early on this Saturday evening working out why it is I so like to be alone sometimes and what I like to do when I am.

Well as for ‘why?’ It’s a deep and instinctive need and I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel it. Not so much a need to get away from other people as a need to be only with me. Continue reading

Granby 4 Streets: Telling the Story

Since the news about our architects Assemble and the Turner Prize we’ve been getting a lot of requests from the media and other organisations to tell the story of what we’re doing in Granby Four Streets. Including a presentation and follow up discussion I’ve just done at a conference in Stoke. This was the 2015 annual conference of ‘Creative People and Places’ an initiative of the Arts Council.

As the presentation is all prepared anyway I thought it would be a good idea to put it on here and at the beginning of ‘The Story of Granby 4 Streets’ as a quick summary of where we’re all up to at the moment.

Here then are the Four Streets, the last four of the original Granby, Liverpool 8 streets to be still standing.

Ducie Street

Ducie Street

Jermyn Street.

Jermyn Street.

Cairns Street.

Cairns Street.

Beaconsfield Street.

Beaconsfield Street.

By early 2011 when the community around here asked me if I could come and help with their work on these streets there were something like 50 of the houses being lived in and 150 empty. Continue reading