From 24th September-2nd October communities in Stourbridge and beyond can join a host of activities that celebrate action on climate change. From a Repair Cafe on Saturday 24 September to a trip ‘Into the Woods’ on Sunday 2 October, the activities on offer are all thanks to local people and groups who’ve come together to make everything happen!
Growing Up Green Festival
Growing Up Green is a children and family arts festival that ran across Birmingham and parts of the Black Country last year, led by The Parakeet Studio. Each year the festival coincides with Great Big Green Week.
How did Growing Up Green in Stourbridge come about?
Earlier this year, Hayley, a resident, community arts facilitator and founder of Wild About Stourbridge asked me if I thought there might be a way to make this happen in Stourbridge. My answer was, of course, a resounding ‘Yes!’ Hayley’s idea (and our mantra) was to keep it simple; to ask groups, residents and activists if they would like to do something they already do well during the week. That way, we could curate a range of events and activities all under the Growing Up Green banner!
We started with the people we thought might be interested and also put a general call out to others in our networks. Hayley and I kept our aspirations manageable. If we had five activities happening across the week this year, that’d be a win. The festival could grow each year. Over the last few months, collaborators have grown (sorry!) to include:
- Wild About Stourbridge
- Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust
- Friendly Neighbourhood Cinema
- Wild Earth Movement
- Fruits of the Forest
- Top Church Dudley
- Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
- Creative Active Lives CIC
- Stourbridge Friends of the Earth
- Cycling UK
- CVT Shared Lives
- Scarlet Tiger Project
- Moms Mindful Hub
- EKHO Collective CIC
As well as local residents, councillors and friends from Dudley Council. And with that diversity of skills, resources, talent and passion, we reckon we’ve got a brilliant range of activities already this year.
We’ve brought people together three times and I’ve been bowled over by how this simple idea has been embraced. People have thrown in their ideas, connected to expand the activities they’re planning and offered venues and other support.
We’re still firming up some activities, but we so far have plans for at least 10, covering most days of the festival! In the image below, each pin represents an event that’s almost confirmed. Check back here, join our Facebook group or check out the Great Big Green Week calendar to see what will be happening.
Our place-based work
It’s been (and remains) a pleasure to play a small part in this work that has sprung out of our new approach to working in smaller localities across Dudley borough.
Through our place-based working, we bring together local people who are passionate about their communities. Place-based working is all about people doing great things and nurturing strong connections rooted in communities.
Our work in Stourbridge
In Stourbridge, this started with having conversations with people who live, volunteer or work (or a combination of those) in Stourbridge area, to build a picture of the area. The pictures below are part of a larger document of our findings from these conversations (you can click on them to enlarge them).
We’ve brought a wider network of people together three times to explore these findings and to explore how we can build on them. The last time we met, I introduced people to the Creative Canvas, developed by colleagues from Creative Black Country, as a way for people with ideas for the area to develop them and find helpers and collaborators. The idea was to encourage people who wanted to do something locally to get their ideas down and share them with other members of the network who could help bring them to life by offering their skills, materials, venues etc.
This was exactly how Growing Up Green came about. I’m still interested in hearing from anyone who has an idea (however big or small) for the Stourbridge area. Bringing people together around Growing Up Green has showed us that we can achieve much more when we make connections, and share our ideas and resources openly. Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved in Growing Up Green, if you’ve ideas for the Stourbridge area or if you’d like to be connected to our network. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org