In the midst of the first lockdown, POP+ awarded the second round of funding from its Learning and Collaboration initiative. Four projects received around £5000 each in April.
Positively Diverse Action – City of Sanctuary, DBI, Stephane Kolinsky, Ptown Radio
Positively Diverse Action is all about collaboration and trust within – and with – different communities in Plymouth. PDA is a long-term project; about taking the time to build the trust to nurture individuals; to enable them to find their own talents and establish connections so that they, in turn, can help others. Ironically, the lockdown enabled a transformation within its own ‘bubble’ with one of its founders, Liliane Uwimana, from Plymouth City of Sanctuary. Liliane, for whom English is not her first language, is living proof that the project is working: “This collaboration has allowed people to be comfortable in their skin to be able to come forward and share what they know; their potential and their skills.” PDA’s plan is that – through intercultural collaboration – communities and individuals will start to explore the next steps of being part of conversations and decision-making within the city. The collaboration consists of Plymouth City of Sanctuary; Skyspace CIC; Diversity Business Incubator and PTown Radio.
Precious Plastics Plymouth – Plymouth Play Scrapstore & CIC, Rob West and Kate Crawfurd, Precious Plastics Tavistock and more
Precious Plastics Plymouth & Tavistock Project went public during lockdown and set up shop outside the Scrapstore on Union Street as part of the Plymouth Art Weekender. Dr Dot – aka founder member Kate Crawfurd – explains what happened when she revealed her ‘world of plastic’ nonsense; “Maybe it was the hats, maybe the shredder, maybe the banner, anyway it was very engaging! We had a gentle flow of passers-by, no crowds, all very well-distanced. People were drawn in and we had many interesting and fruitful conversations around plastics, waste, recycling and the environment.” And PPT&T is going to have its own home soon, moving into the Royal William Yard as part of RIO’s amazing “start something’ initiative. As Dr. Dot says things are quite lively; “We have been busy with POP’s AGM and festival week, learning exciting ways to connect. POP+ and RIO are brilliant coordinators, channelling the energy which could easily fizzle out if people and organisations don’t connect. We have started making connections through another POP+ project brief, which is generating new ideas and even more energy.” You can find out more about Precious Plastics Plymouth & Tavistock at www.katecrawfurd.co.uk/ppp
Plymouth Literary Research and Pilot Project – WonderZoo, Soapbox Culture, Imperfect Cinema and supporting organisations
Wonderzoo Arts Organisation, Imperfect Cinema and Soapbox Culture are on a mission to explore how Plymouth could offer a collaborative and inclusive Literary Festival. The collective has recently employed a researcher to help with this work. As most events have been, and continue to be on hold due to Covid, the project has been re-shaped to try and find out what might be possible in the future by bringing people together and supporting collaboration across Plymouth’s literary groups.
Street Meets/Street Eats – Friends of Wyndham Square, Feeds n Seeds and Helen Moore, PCC – Natural Infrastructure Team and Sovereign Housing
North Stonehouse had hoped to establish a vibrant gardening, growing & food-sharing cooperative called Street Meets:Street Eats bringing people together through ‘food’. The Friends of Wyndham Square; the community growing project, Seeds ‘n’ Feeds; Sovereign Housing and the Plymouth City Council’s natural infrastructure team had joined forces to nurture the community but as Covid 19 and its restrictions struck so the group had to adapt, abandoning its ‘veg garden’ plan and moving indoors. “Incredible Edibles” took root in the nearby Talk Shop and, before long, it was clear that it had blossomed. Many residents took to passing the community Talk Shop as part of their daily exercise; watching the plants grow and shouting encouragement through the letterbox! Top community gardener, Gin Farrow-Jones says it helped establish the Talk Shop as a community asset; “The shop window was our community’s green clock, helping time pass in a much needed and tolerably slow way.” At a time when food security was an issue on everyone’s minds, the project adapted. Rather than growing ‘together’ in collective harmony and sharing meals as a ‘community’; people were now stuck indoors. And so, volunteers left bags of fresh produce on the doorstep of Notre Dame House along with (the lovely idea of) prestamped postcards, so that the recipients could communicate their thanks and feelings. As Gin accepts things were very different, “We’ve made a lot more relationships that we’d anticipated but not had relationships with the key people that we thought we would have had.” The project has gone back to square one with residents from Notre Dame House planting winter veg in their private garden. Far from a setback, Gin says it’s simply evolved; “There seems to be renewed enthusiasm for growing winter veg outdoors everywhere, but heart-warmingly the residents are eager too, which I take as healthy green shoots of success.”