A collection of GrassRoots

collectively produced products

Community Glue Magazine

Umbrella CIC

Blackpool is often disproportionately represented by the UK press as a terrible place to be. If Blackpool was a human being we would be concerned that he/she was a vulnerable person being subject to unfair discrimination, harassment and bullying. Its true Blackpool has some fundamental problems and scores alarmingly near the top of pretty much any social ill you can mention. Blackpool has high levels of poverty, addiction, poor mental health and the lowest age expectancy in the UK. It also has some of the highest suicide and self-harm rates too.

 It is not the reporting of these crisis issues that is the problem. However, the unbalanced disproportional reporting merely panders to scaremongering, exaggerates and encourages stereotyping, blame and a dismissive culture. What is seldom reported is what Blackpool both as a town and its communities are actively doing to make life and living in Blackpool better, and it is getting better.

Project Status | Completed

A couple of years ago I was commissioned by Umbrella CIC on behalf of The Big Lottery Fund to develop a product that would highlight some of the positive movements happening at a grassroots level within Blackpool. This was such a joy to do as a project.

 I gathered grassroots community groups together, spent time with them, heard their stories, their feelings of invisibility and the lack of local let alone regional or national recognition.  So we decided to build a community magazine together in order to do something about it

The real joy of this project was in working together, I could have just made a magazine, interviewed people and published it. Instead, I ran workshops, talks, think tanks and encouraged groups and individuals to tell their story not just the story of their organisation or group. I was interested in why they formed their groups and for what purpose. I wanted to know their own personal back story and their hopes and dreams for the future. I wanted to know what mattered to them as individuals and as a group collectively and how they can help others to move forward with their lives. 

What I found was beautiful, There is so much skill, talent, stories, inspirational role models and compassionate passionate people in our communities who do not get the recognition and celebration that they truly as individuals and groups deserve. Community Glue was a reaction and action to that.

The project took 6 months to complete but by its end, we had together produced a high quality 52-page community magazine filled with both personal story of recovery and overcoming whilst simultaneously promoting the good things happening at the grassroots level of Blackpool. Over 200 people took part in the project from 24 grassroots groups. We printed 5000 copies of this magazine to distribute across Blackpool & The Fylde coast (UK).

The positive side effect of this project was the way those groups continued post project to promote who they are and what they do in a more human and storytelling format. It also brought people and groups (unknown to each other) together and for those groups that still exist today, I have witnessed many of these working together on multiple projects still to this day.

5000 A4 52-page Magazines distributed across Lancashire, UK

For me, it has been satisfying that the project had made a long term impact.

Kane Dodgson

Journal

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