Northam Community Encounters is ‘a cross-community space where we can all come together and re-imagine a more connected sustainable future’.
If we are to transition to a more participatory and connected form of community life and governance, we need to prepare the ground to unleash a whole new energy and readiness to do things in a different way.
Northam Community Encounters asks what would the first steps look, feel taste and sound like in order to bring this about?
Trust, connection and resilience
Creating an open shared space in our villages/towns where everyone in the community can come together. This space would be underpinned by a celebratory informal approach, seeking to build trust, connection and resilience and full of opportunities for people to be creative and rewild their imaginations with new possibilities. In this space people, who have been fractured by the extreme atomization of our culture can begin to come alive again and awaken from their dormancy.
Open celebratory spaces
Through creating these generous and open celebratory spaces in our communities we can begin to find areas of collaboration and mutual decision making about the issues that matter and affect us the most.
This could take place within the wider festival setting in which people could come to indirectly without the common baggage and paraphernalia we normally come to associate within the political setting.
The space could host a diverse range of events, stalls, performances, games, workshops, forums, acting as a platform to weave our local community together.
Some possibilities for this could include the following:
Serving fresh local food and refreshments.
Local food, Produce and domestics:
100% organic fresh fruit and veg, eggs, honey, jams, bread, eggs, soaps, washing products.
Encouraging various forms of economic exchange and upcycling useful products such as books, seeds, clothes.
The Community Forum where ideas and views can be exchanged through various containers such as:
- Empathy Circles that give people the chance to be heard properly, often for the first time in their lives.
- Death Cafes to help people face and transform their grief about what is happening.
- Open space events for generating new ideas
- People’s assemblies
Information and awareness-raising stalls:
- Ex – 361 energy, Ecocide.
Village/town partner stalls:
- local groups, organizations and businesses ex Northam town council climate group, XR, Northam men’s forum, Men’s shed.
- where people can put forward ideas for new enterprises to an audience in support of local projects with money, time, space, advice, skills to offer.
Re-skilling and Rewilding the Imagination workshops:
- ex-food preservation, soap making, Introduction to Permaculture.
- Ex to host chess, scrabble, poker and table tennis/other games.
The Real Estate management Zone –
- Planning and Development
Open Platform and Speakers Corner:
- Each month would finish with the opportunity for people to perform or simply to share something. This could be through a speech, Music, Dance, Poetry, Storytelling, Comedy.
Other possibilities could include:
- Knitting circles that give you something else to focus on while you’re building subtle bonds of trust.
Swish clothes events
- Gift circles
- Exeter part of M&S Exeter Kickstart for young people - March 7, 2021
- Giving blood still needed in all tiers - December 31, 2020
- Pop-up choir a blessing at Northam church’s Covid-safe Christmas Eve service - December 30, 2020