Saturday, 23 May 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
I spent a fascinating afternoon in Oxford at a conference for Church of England officials on using church buildings for community benefit. There was a real commitment there and some great examples of projects.
My talk was on using church buildings (and land) for community owned enterprises, with co-operative examples from Jamaica and Ireland as well as the UK.
I laid down two challenges. Firstly, don’t just see this as a property issue. Church communities have as much to add as people as the building that they bring with them. Their values are also a major strength, as long as they accept the values of others as well.
Secondly, realise how much expertise is out there already. I suggested that 80% of the challenges they would face were the same as any other rural community-owned enterprise. Avoiding wheel reinvention could save a lot of their energy.
The event gave me a great deal of hope and I look forward to following it up with a meeting with the Churches Conservation Trust.
Monday, 11 May 2009
If ever I needed a boost to get up in the morning, it could come from Mells. There was the sheer pride (and relief) that the community had saved their local store. But this was tempered with the knowledge (and determination) that there was so much more that they could do (and I'm sure will do). If we could bottle those feelings then this movement will grow even faster.