Brighton and Hove’s community spirit never fails to amaze

Nancy Platts, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council. Photograph: Michael Crabtree
Nancy Platts, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council. Photograph: Michael Crabtree

I never fail to be amazed at the community spirit that is ever present in our city.

No matter where you go or which part of Brighton and Hove you live in, there is a wealth of people involved in different community projects and volunteering roles.

These range from Friends groups looking after parks, open spaces or special buildings to neighbourhood forums, homeless projects and youth clubs.

Volunteers help with counselling, befriending, campaigning, fundraising, being trustees – the list is endless.

One project did catch my eye recently and that’s the fledgling Brighton Community Workshop Project. It’s being set up by council park ranger Garry Meyer, a Moulsecoomb resident, who wants to develop a space where local people can share their talents, pass on ideas to others, learn new skills and get creative.

As well as sharing expertise, there would also be a Tools Library where the community could lend and borrow tools which would save people buying them. Garry believes skills could be based on the traditional crafts of woodwork, metalwork, leatherwork, papermaking, pottery and glass craft.

There would also be projects that could provide items for the community and individuals, while providing an affordable space for start-up businesses.

It’s a concept I can really see working in our city, and it’s why I’ve pledged money to Garry’s crowdfunding page at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/brighton-community-workshop#start.

As I write £254 of a £2,000 target has been raised, with 18 days left. The project is totally independent of the council. It’s Garry’s own idea and will be run in his own time. He has already set up the city’s hugely successful Tidy Up Team – volunteers litter pickers who help our grounds maintenance teams keep our beautiful parks and open spaces tidy.

So he certainly knows a thing or two about running a big project. One of the new buzz phrases within the environmental world is the ‘circular economy’. It’s based on the notion that skills, ideas, expertise, knowledge and goods are kept and circulated within the community. It’s an economy that I’m certainly passionate about and eager to see developing and thriving within our communities.

If you feel the same, you can become a supporter of the Brighton Community Workshop Project on its crowdfunding page.