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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Thursday, May 15, 2003
    An ABC of L8?
    Started storming ideas for a possible Toxteth-and-Wavertree arts event next year, at the monthly clergy 'chapter' meeting this morning. So much diversity - bound to be as so many different sorts of churches are represented on this nevertheless talkative, open, supportive group. My instinct is to go the Common Ground route.

    Common Ground exist to encourage local communities to celebrate local distinctiveness - that which is special or unique to a particular place:
      When you have lived or worked in a place for a long time you may cease to notice it unless something happens to jolt you. It might be the sun glinting on a stone wall revealing the fossils in it, discovering that the street name cheap indicates a market place which explains the wide pavements, the felling of an ancient and much loved tree which makes you look more closely at the remaining mature trees in the place.
    Over the past decade or so Common Ground have championed all sorts of creative projects across the country, such as Parish Maps and Field Days. I'm struck by another of their ideas, creating an ABC of your area:
      The ABC will be a record of how we think now, what our places mean to us and what they comprise.

      It can be used to good effect:

      As a celebration of the place. As with Parish Maps, an ABC should be a starting point for local action. It should attract local media attention and inspire others to become involved, decide how to channel this interest before your ABC is launched.

      To promote locally distinctive produce, created in the area to benefit the local economy.

      Every home should have one. The ABC is important for awareness raising, encourage those who have no time to be involved to order one.

      A framed copy should be hung in the community centre, Council Chamber, local pub, on the Parish Notice Board.
    An ABC of L8, compiled by residents, old, young, across the cultures - would be interesting reading. Creating it - or a Parish Map, or some other celebration of local distinctiveness -would be a fascinating process.