“I only wish you’d run a rave here” was certainly not the parting comment I expected. We were packing up after a yoga retreat and the owner of the manor evidently had other dreams for her fairly sizeable estate. This impromptu comment was shared, the seed was sown, and it wasn’t long before a pretty special festival, ‘Another Love Story’, took place.
Impromptu comments are wonderful. Spontaneous and from the heart, they break out of you in unexpected ways, knocking the receiver off-course, opening up new dialogue and usually sparking new ideas. Spontaneity is the land of idea generation. It’s where conversation crashes together, it’s the meeting of the waters, it’s the germination space, it’s the edge between, it’s that spark which ignites new potential.
Everyday I meet people with new ideas for their community. New solutions for a better Ireland. New ways to improve society. I’m a huge believer in ‘the more you share, the more you receive’. By sharing your ideas, you’ll gain feedback, collaborators, encouragement, followers and support. Our villages and towns are crying out for new initiatives that bring energy and a vibrancy to their streets. Talk to people. Share your idea. Don’t be too precious with it.
An organisation called ChangeX aims to kick-start spontaneous actions, impromptu conversations and exciting projects. They’re bringing these projects and great ideas together into a platform that will mean that these ideas can be replicated in communities across Ireland and scaled to become effective and efficient. Between ChangeX and the new School for Social Entrepreneurs, I believe we are reaching a positive critical tipping point in which people who are passionate about their idea can find education, support and guidance as they seek to spread their idea. Have a look through some of the projects that ChangeX are supporting this summer; perhaps one would suit your own community.
Failte Isteach is a project where older volunteers welcome migrants to the community through conversational English classes.
Fighting Words is a creative writing centre for young people which provides free tutoring and mentoring in creative writing and related arts.
MyMind is a community-based mental healthcare solution which aims to offer flexible, affordable and accessible mental health care for all. They’re setting up centres across the country which will provide psychological and psychotherapy services to people who are seeking mental health support.
KaBOOM! want to ensure that every child in every community has a safe place to play. The children and families help design and build their playground in just one day, with the help of local groups.
121 DIGITAL are creating a network of young tutors across the country that share their digital skills with older generations. Together they are learning and collaborating, crossing digital and generational divides.
Irish Community Rapid Response turns an urgent rural medical problem into community activism and impact. Local GP teams enhance emergency services by providing additional medical personnel to respond to emergency callouts, ensuring urgent care reaches those in need as soon as possible.
Wouldn’t it be great to see these projects established in all communities? Have a chat with your neighbours and friends this summer to explore if these projects and others would be good for your community. ChangeX will help you make them a reality. changex.org
Samuel Bishop is coordinator of Happenings and Street Feast. Connect with him at @Samue1. This August Happenings host ‘Another Love Story’, a beautiful festival weekender in Killyon Manor. anotherlovestory.ie
This is an taken from our Summer 2015 issue. Subscribe here to have the autumn issue and the following three delivered direct to your door.