Our previous post was a look at the thinking informing this project: A fluffy project? Nope, not us… What we want to do with this post is look at one particular area of what we’re trying to do which is pointing people towards the resources they need to start making a difference at the grassroots and the projects that are actually achieving that. Before we do that, it’s worth looking back at what else we’ve tried to do and the lessons learned in the process.

When Alternative Estuary was first launched way back in 2016, the aim was to try and encourage a range of grassroots projects across the south of Essex to start networking more closely with each other. The idea was that they would share their experiences, bounce ideas off each other and as needed, offer each other help.

Looking back with hindsight, while the end was a desirable objective, the way we went about it was pretty ham fisted and probably a bit arrogant. Suffice to say, we didn’t pull it off in the way that we intended. Having said that, as and when needed, there is a fair bit of informal co-operation and networking among the various grassroots projects in the south of Essex and the truth is, they probably didn’t need us barging in telling them what to do! A lesson learned and all that…

What we’re now trying to do is as comprehensively as possible, list the resources that people who want to set up a grassroots project can go to and also, list the projects that are actually making a difference at a community level. A more modest aim and one that is more easily achievable, albeit, there’s still a fair bit of work involved. As the title of this post suggests, it’s about offering people a few pointers as to what’s out there in the way of help and inspiration so they can start up a project in their neighbourhood.

That’s what the Links page on this blog and on the back page of our papers is about. We’ll be honest and admit that this is very much a work in progress. There’s a long way to go to make this a comprehensive and easily usable resource. There’s also the added complication that two of us involved in this project are going to be relocating to Keynsham in Somerset later on this summer while the other two people stay behind in Essex working as Alternative Estuary.

What will help is people running grassroots projects in both regions letting us know what they’re up to and giving us a few details so they can be added to the list. As the list grows, we’ll start to break it down into categories and sub categories to make it easier for people to find what they want. Making that work on the back of a paper is going to be a challenge! Maybe at some point, if we can secure the funding, we’ll get this printed as a separate directory.

Once we’ve (hopefully) relocated and settled in, we’ll be able to get down to this in earnest. The aim is by the autumn to have expanded and reconfigured the links section on this blog and to have started work on a printed directory which we’d be distributing from early 2023 onwards. We’ll keep you updated with our progress on this…