In the research I did over Christmas I came across Police reports and surveys on the various wards. They divide the city into North South East and West. The Eastern side includes the wards of Portsoken, Aldgate, Tower and Lime Street; It’s an interesting division in contemporary and historical terms. Deciding the exact community focus has been a question from early on and it must be decided at the next Set up Committee – it determines the range of the feasibility study.
7th January Thursday
Met with Kirsty (Leitch) and Fabio (Negro) in the Guildhall to talk through the feasibility study questionnaire about what we need to know and delegating tasks. I had put together all the necessary draft documents over the Christmas break and Jacquie is going to send them out to relevant City Corporation staff members that have expertise in the various policy areas. I’ll make amendments later based on their advice. I’ll also set up web pages on the community play website. Kirsty is looking at the Volunteer Guidelines. Fabio will work his way through the Feasibility questionnaire and get answers. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel the first calls will be on previous studies including Rocket Science documents: Portsoken in Focus and Portsoken in Numbers
Kirsty is clearly going to be hands on with this project which I’m very pleased about. We’ve agreed to have regular weekly meetings on Thursday. I’m away for a week in the Lake District but Fabio has a lot to do in the meantime.
15th January Thursday
An E Mail from Kirsty – things are moving forward:
Hope you are having a good break? Just dropping you a line to let you know things have been ticking over nicely. Fabio now has access to buildings, the ability to print and a city email account! He has been doing a fair bit of research and we met with Fay* to get a head start on the wonderful world of businesses in the Aldgate area. Just checking in to see whether you can attend the providers meeting on Monday? I think you said you could. We have been given a 30-minute slot to let the providers know about the play and introduce yourself and Fabio. Your presentation was great for the set-up committee was wondering if you could do a similar thing? Fabio has produced a mini feasibility study questionnaire for providers to pick their brains
*Fay Canning (Aldgate Business partnership)
19th January Monday
Attended a Portsoken providers meeting in St Botolph Church with Fabio. It’s a really positive idea that service providers meet together to hear what each are doing and considering how they might join up and co-operate. Unusual too. Most district councils are to big to conceive a collective meeting. There were service heads and representatives of volunteer service organisations, Toynbee Hall, the Church, City Gateway (youth services); Aldgate Partnership, John Cass School; Adult Learning, City Service commissioning and so forth. I was so impressed by the range of services and the imaginative projects they were engaged in. So many opportunities for the play to support work already happening, and potential soundings with youth groups, Bangladeshi women group, Jewish groups, and in school. This was a really productive meeting for us.
22nd January Thursday
Have been doing a ton of reading: Peter Ackroyd’s Biography of London especially rewarding. Becoming aware of the strength of material. Spent much of the day in the Guidlhall Library. It’s almost overwhelming; in fact the the largest collection of books on the themes of a single city in the world. John Stow’s Survey of London is a classic and not possible to take out as it’s a reference library but I was thrilled to find a copy in a bookshop- still in print. Ackroyd and all previous chroniclers of London have depended on Stow’s work. Four great chroniclers of London all lived in the East of the city: Chaucer (Aldgate) John Stow, (Lime Street) Samuel Pepys (Tower) and John Strype (Portsoken); what an extraordinary heritage.
29th January Thursday
The morning with Kirsty and Fabio in the Guildhall catching up on where we are at and next moves. Setting up Soundings is a priority, something we can pick up on following the providers meeting. We distributed names of people to connect with through February. Also started creating a list of people to invite to an Influencers meeting, an idea proposed by Jacquie. It will help us get a wide representation from the community to the public meeting. Lunch with Jacquie to prepare the afternoon meeting with the Set Up Committee which took place in the Green Box, literally containers stacked together to make a community facility, and small library and meeting rooms. The thrust of the meeting was clarifying the process, ratifying policies that had been returned. I forwarded the idea of ‘East City Play’ that seemed to make sense to people. I’ll expand on the idea on the blog pages. They also looked at the new web pages and discussed the interactive element. People can now volunteer, participate in an on-line sounding and contribute information to the feasibility questionnaire; hopefully add comments, ask questions and so forth.
We also talked through the Influencers meeting set for February 19th – I’ll prepare a presentation, display and bring someone from the Camden Road Play to talk about their play and legacy of CREATE.