Festival of Ideas heads for Bootle

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New project, backed by Sefton Council, aims to give residents a say in how to ‘build back better’.

Sefton Council has launched a new call for ideas to inspire the ‘Build Back Better’ ethos sweeping the country in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council – Liverpool City Region’s Borough of Culture 2020 – sponsored the project, which is being delivered by maker space and social enterprise Make CIC, and social economy business support community, Kindred.

The ‘Festival of Ideas’ will inspire local people to share ideas related to five themes – making and selling; food and growing; music and culture; health and wellbeing and spaces for change. After an initial programme to inspire people to think about their ideas, the organisers will support people to develop their ideas, which are then put forward for a share of a £6k development fund.

Bootle Festival of Ideas will also ask local people what they’d like to see in the area, creating citizen-led impetus for change.

Make co-founder Liam Kelly says: “Bootle is brimming with ideas and this festival is an opportunity for people to bring their ideas to the table and tell us what ‘build back better’ means. The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated challenges faced by our region’s town centres and Bootle is no different. But we firmly believe that the people who live, work and socialise there are the ones who have the ideas to overcome the challenges. Some ideas may benefit from a small starter grant to give it a try! Others may find what they need by coming together to collaborate. We’re looking forward to celebrating everything boss about Bootle.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said:

“The Festival of Ideas is a unique opportunity, amidst the chaos of the last few months, for Sefton residents to bring about positive changes to their own lives, to their communities and our culture.

“We are borough that offers it all, Sefton has something for everyone, and this festival is a truly exciting way of bringing people together to talk through ideas and innovations, share opportunities and feel inspired.

“When we first looked in to the idea of having a Festival of Ideas, we originally had a very different format in mind.  We’ve had to react quickly to rapidly unfolding events and take an entirely new approach to the Festival of Ideas. Similarly we successfully delivered much of our Borough of Culture programme digitally and virtually, and so we’ve taken the learning and applied it here, moving to a digital approach to the festival of ideas too.  So, for everyone staying safe at home, you can still get involved as we’ll be presenting a programme of live-streamed events via Zoom.”

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said

“Sefton is known for its entrepreneurial and enterprise culture, and is home to businesses of all sizes, from international organisations and small start-ups to social enterprises and community organisations. Our objective with the Festival of Ideas is to enhance Sefton’s reputation as a borough of ideas and innovation.

“Working with Make CIC we will be hosting a series of online events over a whole month from 2nd September to the 2nd October, with further events and exhibitions in the planning for after that.

“With five key focus areas covering very real issues and challenges such as health in our local communities, or transforming unused buildings and forgotten spaces, to inspiring a new generation of artists, musicians and poets, the festival provides opportunities for Sefton residents to share concepts, swap insights and trade opinions.

“We want to champion the next big things and help local people get new ideas off the ground, so they can seize new opportunities to make a positive difference to our beautiful borough.”

Festival of Ideas was run in Wirral in 2017, supporting a number of projects across the borough which have grown and developed into businesses, including Future Yard, Origami Pulse, and the Make Hamilton makerspace.

Residents can engage with the project in the first instance by signing up for one of six introductory sessions. More details are available on the Make Liverpool website (makeliverpool.com).

For more information, pease contact Make CIC: hello@makeliverpoolcom 0151 601 8665

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