As well as offering one another mutual assistance in matters of urgency, whether that be with debt agencies, bad landlords or employers, rogue traders, fascist abuse, or other forms of harassment, the Mansewood Community Forum seeks to unite our neighbours in positive action for the benefit of ourselves, our neighbours, and our children.
As an autonomous group of neighbourhood residents and activists in Mansewood, we don’t need to wait for the local authorities or politicians to make suggestions about what we “might” need in our area. Instead we can create the demand and make moves to achieve our goals through our own solidarity, networking, and direct action. So let us have a think together about what we want to achieve as a community forum.
Initially it might be a good idea to assess what resources we have, and what resources are lacking; what problems are obvious, and what solutions there might be, and so on.
To begin with we have a fantastic allotments site, a community centre, some good green and recreation spaces, a bowling and social club, a number of religious buildings, nurseries, schools, and shops. How well are these currently serving our needs as a community – can improvements be made, are people or groups excluded unnecessarily, are there aspects we can help or volunteer with. This initial collective assessment will help us form some goals which might be achievable very quickly.
Other questions we can ask, among others:
- What land and buildings are available for alternative usage?
- What primary needs do we have as a community in terms of equality, diversity, access, safety, and so on?
- Are there sufficient spaces for our various mini-community groups, eg our elderly, various religious or ethnic minorities, the youth, our activists, our workers, our carers, and so on?
- What are other local communities doing – can we share ideas, collaborate, assist?
- Who in our community is able to help – what time and skills can they offer?
From asking these initial questions we can then begin to form a long term plan for our community. In other areas in Glasgow, the British Isles, or indeed the world, communities are establishing fantastic resources to help them improve the happiness and wellbeing of themselves and their families. Such projects include:
- community windfarms, and solar networks
- food growing, food buying, and food selling co-operatives both to sustain our households, and to generate revenue for other projects
- all sorts of co-operative enterprises offering long-term employment for current and future generations
- alternative education and skill-share spaces
- community bakeries
- community kitchens
- community tool-and-equipment shares
- clubs and events for all ages
- and a great deal more
We are still waiting on confirmation of our email account from RiseUp.net, and we also hope to host our second forum meeting very soon in the community centre. Of course this is open to everybody who lives or works in the Mansewood area. Details of both will be posted soon, as soon as we’re better placed, in the meantime please stay posted, share, leave a comment, but most importantly have a think and start chatting about what we might want to do!