We are in a recession. Friends and neighbours are staring into an abyss. Others, through luck and Privilege, are pressing on with their agendas. BS5 (Easton) in Bristol has wealth and poverty side by side.
The Baggator Nexus has tried to find a way through using the loan gifted from a Neighbour; incredibly dedicated volunteers, and the skills of the Nexus members. Sometimes we felt like the witches from Macbeth stirring the Ideas Pool as it hubbled and bubbled, and gave us a plan.
The Plan relied on making everything support everything else; selfless dedication and trust. Short of time, and only able to give a little, Nexus Members focused on their talents and reached out to our Friends and Neighbours.
The Nexus relies on two dedicated Teams - Super Supper Club and Barton Hill Sunday Kitchen, to turn the food donated by Pak Butchers, Bristol Sweet Mart, the big supermarkets, and some hands in pockets, to feed 600 every week. Things fall apart - cookers can wear out, and thanks to Burgess Salmon, Baggator will soon have a new one.
Meanwhile, Fuel Poverty kept raising its ugly head.
Think you know what fuel poverty is? Think back to last Friday morning. Imagine getting the kids up, washed and fed, debating " heating v kettle v hot water - forget cooking" why? Because there's no money for the meter, and no credit on the phone to cry for help. “Home-schooling! Home-heating would be nice!” The £3,600 from the Emergency Crowdfunder arrived that Friday. 27 families were lucky.
Did I only say, two teams? There's more. Atamai Tutor Centre with DigiLocal, are expanding incredibly successful Saturday Tutoring. Reaching Young Citizens whose needs are great; or futures are bleak, barely cling to the cyber-world.
STEM Ambassadors and University of West of England (UWE) with Bristol Muslim Cultural Society(BMCS) and Baggator will use data from Saaf Hava to bridge the digital gap. Out of this, young citizens may learn to swim in cyber-space helping us how to understand our digital world.
Saaf Hava means Clean Air Sensing across 1.6 square kilometres in Easton. Twenty sites will measure Air Pollution, Temperature, Humidity. Already we're adding Telraam Traffic sensors by integrating UWEs WE COUNT programme into Saaf Hava via the STEM Ambassadors. Saaf Hava is a joint initiative between RADE and the Council of Bristol Mosques.
Data about our air, our streets, must make sense in the time it takes to walk past a shop window. Like you 'read' the weather. Enter Lisa [our Social Media Manager] who's thinking about displaying Air Quality (and Traffic - shush she doesn't know this yet) on a screen in a shop window. Yes, Bristol Sweet Mart, we've got designs on your Community Kiosk display. 😉
Peace of Art, who started by asking if they could 'have a go' on Baggator's Graffiti wall, are about to begin their second commission on the pillars opposite the Stapleton Road Railway Station. The women wear hijabs, and transform the street with colour and art.
Meanwhile, the Bike Club and Cycling Sisters are busy planning. Both use the same shipping container at Baggator to store their bikes and bits. Rumour has it that it's a recycled Tardis because it never ceases to amaze how much gets put in by both groups (and they never seem to argue). Cycling Sisters will run a creche with their next sessions.
Talking of fitness, thanks to Sported, we're launching two women only sessions, Dance and Keep-Fit. Tana will run online workshops to grow minds and bodies. Tana is building her business with our friends at the Prince’s Trust, and she's also going to use our recording studio to create with the Women.
Back to Lisa. She's mentoring our Media Coordinator, Fatima, who’s reorganising things, starting with Tana's project, to set a pattern (a brand) for all of the Nexus media. Fatima's work will link up with the rebranding input from Annemie (our Ethical Angel from Sony in the Netherlands). Like I said, "Don't you just love it when a Plan comes together."
Rebranding fits changing Baggator's objectives. Adding families and community to youth work fulfils the manifesto “Everyone deserves an Equal Voice in their future”. All about capacity building, skill transfer, and growth by innovation, not acquisition. We drop things into the Ideas Pool and make new ways to link through the Nexus. That’s the Plan.
Going forward, we must make decisions rapidly and fairly. Thanks to Digital Candle, we’re trialling a voting app, which will eventually help Friends and Neighbours to make decisions.
The Neighbourhood Planning Groups, Plan-EL and Marsh Maker, supported by ELH Citizens University, and six Design Teams from UWE started Community Planning.
“BS5-2 Alive” is the next phase of this Community Planning work; deciding how to take things forward. Just because you’re struggling, doesn’t mean you can’t have a vision of your neighbourhood; doesn’t mean you cannot dream, even when surrounded by the terror of a growing recession.
The Baggator Nexus benefits from all the different lives within and around us. It all ties together thanks to all the people who stirred the Ideas Pool (often without realising). From the pool comes our plan.
Like the man said
"Don't you just love it when a Plan comes together"
Baggator Nexus is a collection of organisations, groups, and people dedicated to Citizen Empowerment. Everyone deserves an Equal Voice in their future.