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Camerados Living room in Blackpool

We had the most amazing and inspiring time visiting the Camerados ‘Living Room’ in Blackpool. This friendly and vibrant cafe is run entirely by volunteers who’ve often had all sorts of troubles, but this is a space where everyone is welcome, no one is judged, and everyone gets their voice heard.

 

Camerados feels like a such an exicting and progressive model, failure is not just allowed but embraced, limiting terms like ‘clients’ and ‘service providers’ are thrown out the window in favour of us all being Camerados.

 

We spend time meeting the people who run the cafe, and in line with their vision for ‘Starbucks run by Samaritans’ all the staff have been trained not just in food preparation and making coffee but also how best support people who come in who may be vulnerable, who may need someone to talk to, or who may not know what they need.

 

We heard meany stories of how the Living Room has been the first step for many visitors there towards self identifying their own needs, and their own paths to happier, more fulfilling lives.

 

Their philosophy that what all of us need, is friends and purpose, really struck a chord with us. So much so we got Pete to work behind the tills!

 

Find out more here >

 

Camerados 1  Camerados 2  

ReName the Streets!

 

We were invited by the lovely folk at Pidgin Perfect to take part in their Big Lunch Event. Great to meet the community. We invited people to write letters to their neighbours, people drew pictures, wrote poems and pressed flowers. People responded with real positivity and generosity so we’re looking to expand this project, keep a look out for more details!

 

Street Renaming

 

We also invited people to think of new names for the streets where they in Sighthill. The whole area used to be a private estate called Fountainwell, it was owned by a man named Dr Pinkston, and that is what most of the streets are named after.

 

People had the chance to imagining new street names which reflected the passions and lives of the people who live their now. So out went Fountainwell Avenue and Pinkston Drive and in came Kitty Cat Ville, Peaceful Place, Engine Avenue, Stone Ring Street and many others!

 

DID YOU KNOW? Glasgow has a history of using street names to make a political statement. Nelson Mandela Place was so called to show support for the Free Nelson Mandela campaign - much to the annoyance of the South African consulate who were based on that street. Every single day their mail would come with Nelson Mandela name on the envelope as a reminder to them of Glasgow’s support for the imprisoned campaigner. Maybe it’s time for more of this across Scotland…?

 

             

 

Away Day

The Common Ground team had a fantastic day pouring over ideas for the project at the Old Barn in Pollok Park.

 

It gave us a chance to hear more about each other’s work and research, as well as our own personal stories and experiences of housing and land, we thought a lot about how much we are shaped by the physical environments we live in, the types of the transport, the green space that exists nearby, how near we are to family - all of these have a genuine and profound influence on the shaping of who we are as individuals. A simple idea idea but it stayed with us, and also resonated with a quote that we keep coming back to from pioneering architect Christopher Alexander;

 

‘There is a myth, sometimes widespread, that a person need only do inner work, in order to be alive like this; that a man is entirely responsible for his own problems; and that to cure himself, he need only change himself… The fact is a person is so far formed by his surroundings, that his state of harmony depends entirely on his harmony with his surroundings.’

 

Taken from The Timeless Way of Building.

 

And it turns out this quote also inspired Charles Mongtomery, another thinker who has inspired us with his book Happy City, which asks questions about the intersections between happiness and urban design; it almost always comes back to positive social interaction, and that is something which we are embracing across every branch of the common ground project!

 

 

      

Homeless World Cup in Glasgow

 

The common ground team visited the Homeless World Cup a few times this week, sometimes in the sun, sometimes in the rain, it was fantastic to be celebrating the human spirit amongst people from all over the world. The atmosphere was great, and the talent and spirit of the players was awe inspiring.

 

Every match we watched had it’s highs and lows and stand out moments, and with 64 teams playing, representing 52 countries across the world there was a lot of cheering to do. Our default position was to always cheer the underdog!

 

Find out more here where you can read about the origins of the homeless world cup, and the co founder and President Mel Young’s advice to do something small, ‘if we all do something small, we’ll change the world’. It’s really stayed with me, what small thing can I do today to help change the world so it’s a better place for all of us?

 

homelessworldcup1  homeless world cup Glasgow 2016  Homeless World Cup Glasgow 2016