There have been some really good contributions on this blog and on the Bearwood Facebook Page following Richard Marshall’s initiative to put in a bid for what is being called the Mary Portas High Street money. We need them to keep rolling in, and the next meeting is tomorrow (Monday) at 6pm at Azzari Too… and all interested parties are welcome.
As someone who will struggle to get there tomorrow because of another meeting, I’ll throw this contribution into the pot… The West Norwood Feast
If you can spend 15 minutes, just cruise around their site and look at what they have got going. I think they have got it spot on, and they are doing it already, without the ‘Portas’ money. And what’s more, I think we could do it too.
As many people have said, our strength here in Bearwood could be our green spaces and our creative community. The issue isn’t so much about parking (has anyone tried to find a quick and convenient parking spot at Merry Hell) or pedestrianisation, but about attracting people to Bearwood based on our selling points. Try to imagine our Bearwood Feast.
In the Shakespeare Garden and the park entrance we have a ready-made gardeners corner… Webbs, Andrews Plants, the new horticultural centre, and the Lightwoods Friends Garden Group … I can see them selling plants and seeds, giving advice, recruiting gardening volunteers for Bearwood in Bloom.
Around the House frontage we could have a food market, with local Bearwood foodies selling, displaying and sampling their foods. The Promoters could give us music from the bandstand, the Crafty Muthas and their crafty allies could have an artisan market. For our Retro Market the charity shops could display their clothes and second hand books, and people could brush down those old LP’s from their attic to sell in the Retro Marketplace…. I’m sure people can think of lots more.
In time we could turn it into a Bearwood trail, with things taking place in the St Mary’s Grounds, and maybe on the Calthorpe Haven some children’s projects.
We can build on the strengths of the existing Crafty Muthas/Bearwood on Ice/Bearwood Shuffle/Picnic in the Park organisations to turn Bearwood into a more vibrant place, that not only attracts people from around about, but gets the 10-15,000 Bearwood people down into the town.
The “There’s nothing in Bearwood” pessimism needs to be turned around, and instead try to look at the good things we have got, and build on them.
Why… the Bearwood Feast could be a co-operative, and future proceeds put towards letting a shop unit where we can start harnessing and featuring Bearwood’s creative strengths… and gathering more revenue to develop projects. We don’t have to wait for someone to give us a lease, we can go out and get one!
As a councillor, I know we will be up for it, and from the great feedback from the initial ‘Portas’ meeting, it seems like a lot of others are too. Richard has started the ball rolling, we need to pick it up and run with it!