After Parliament week: how we rejuvenate things

Featured Image: Conservative MP for Broxtowe Darren Henry with pupils from Fairfield Spencer Academy after organising a virtual parliamentary question time during Parliament Week 14th -21st November 2022.

Democracy is the energy of any economic system we choose to implement and we need its health as much as it needs ours. In many places affluent and underprivileged our neighbourhoods and our energies in undergoing such a radical transformation have become becalmed: so much has happened here to us as individuals, families, so much that needs talking about, that needs air and rejuvenation, so much that needs humility and focus. 

We need to see success as the success of everyone and create a brilliant process that enables conversations across society as equals to rejuvenate and create new kinds of opportunities for everyone.

Neighbourhood to neighbourhood conversations creating new value and new values. Like the fantastic idea of Left Lion Illustrator Becky Riley (see below): who rebranded some of Nottingham’s neighbourhoods for the Left Lion Student Welcome To Nottingham booklet: we need to pick these kinds of ideas up and distribute them so that people in Nottingham neighbourhoods start to feel they can rebrand the suburbs. If established as well as new businesses have to move from prime locations as they can’t absorb rent increases, why can’t their move into the suburbs be properly supported to develop a neighbourhood brand?

Society is us: we’re the new society: what I mean is that we need to feel we can be ourselves and understand how we can be the economy we want to see in the micro, in our neighbourhood, in the way we talk to, encourage and support each other to share our knowledge, experience, culture and skills. 

I’m retraining next year to teach Citizenship: this year I’m working with a range of groups to understand their experience of education, life, community. During Parliament Week I was with a group of Year 7s in a Post Covid Enrichment class performing arts drama. I did a performing skills audit of the group so the pupils could use those skills in the task.

I asked them if they knew much about parish and local councillors, MP and the Youth Parliament. Some knew a little, had been visited during Covid. All felt that they had someone locally that they could go to if they had a campaign or a problem. The made the point that the things councillors and MPs talked about weren’t what they’d put on the agenda so I asked them to become the minister for their own portfolio. They talked about their portfolios and then defended them to the rest of the class. 

Here are some of their ideas for regeneration:

1 I’d like to see in my area: more nice shops, more nature, nicer houses, more people/pet places, less cars. Solution: start by selling things, making things, talking to people getting to know neighbours better.

2 In my neighbourhood: farm land: farm jobs, fresh food to shops, fresh green trees and colourful flowers, more animals in the area, money growing trees…….

3 In my neighbourhood make my own shop online and in my area: my own company

4 Around where I live Hogwarts will exist: more disabled parking, all disabled parking is free, more hospitals, no more Boris Johnson(!?) he will be kicked out into the Pacific Ocean, free dogs, Art Shops, Gordon Ramsay kitchen.

5 In my neighbourhoodI would like to see a flower garden, theatre, Primark, Asda, mansions. Everyone needs a free TESLA, free concert stages, theme parks, swimming pools, parties.

6 I would like to see less building on top of nature, less litter, more natural parks with lots of walks through nature, more waterparks

7 I would like a park near my house, less cemetries near me, less concrete buildings, less homework, no litter, electric cars cheaper so more could buy

8) I’d like to see Art shops, lots of flowers and trees, lakes, bakeries, slow change.

9)I would like a theatre, forest football club and a forest near me, greenery, grass, train, smaller shops, make food cheaper, nice street signs, nice parks, weather control, coffee bars, party.

10) I’d like more people near us, more cats,hamsters, trees, houses, better education. Solution: Prevent illnesses, don’t cut down trees, build more parks

11) I’d like to see more people, more cats, more nature Solution: Prevent illnesses, don’t cut down trees.