Category: Clean & Green

Hyperlocal folks in South Birmingham – a few notes from the first social media surgery in Kings Norton.

	 Lynn Horsnett, Steph Jennings and Sas Taylor

This picture shows three hyperlocal bloggers all come together through yesterday’s first Three Estates Kings Norton social media surgery.

On the left is  Lynn Horsnett of the Friends of Kings Norton Park.  She came along for some tips – having started a blog.  We helped her make it more blog like – activating comments and looking at trackback (the way in which when one blog links to a post of another blog it appears in the comments section) and writing google friendly titles for posts. We also helped her change her twitter account and improved the prfile a little.   She is though in her own right a hyperlocal blogger – but he local is a park in south Birmingham.

Lynn’s feedback was that the surgery..

helped Friends of Kings Norton Park to open its blogspot up for conversation and helped set up a twitter account, hopefully meaning we can now hear from the important people, the wider community. Love the ideas of interlinking community groups and widening networks. Social media workshops are really positive experiences.

In the middle is our own Steph Jennings – a hugely experienced hyperlocal blogger around to offer tips about her work on

Beside Steph is the amazing Sas Taylor – listen here to why she and her husband Marty run the B31voices local blog.  Sas was sharing her expertise with a range of people at the surgery, including Kizzy Bent of Birminghsm City Council’s Environmental Health team.

Kizzy Bent and Sas Taylor

Kizzy commented after the surgery:

Sas showed me how Environmental Health can promote the work we do in Northfield District on her blog and twitter sites to ENGAGE with the residents. I was amazed and will definitely be sending regular updates to the site. The Podnosh meetings have boosted my confidence using technology and highlighted social media is the way to go to connect with a wider section of the community. Thanks I will be encouraging my colleagues to do the same.

Austin Rodriguez – of the Birmingham South Community Safety Partnerships –  is working with us to run surgeries in south Bimringham, blogs in his own right on the site

which brings together a lot of social media activity in South Birmingham plus news of their work.  Austin helped his colleague Lewis O’Rourk.

Austin Rodriguez and Lewis O-Rourke

Lewis said after the surgery

I was initially a little bit wary of social media. The session has provided me with a decent insight into the simplicity of using this mode of communication. It is easy to use, a fantastic way of engaging with people and cost effective. I will certainly be using social media in future for various projects and media campaigns.

The best thing though by miles was bringing these people together in one place – one place where they could start to share not just skills but ideas and work together. Social media surgeries are about much more than technical skills – they are about confidence and relationships and building trust to make things better.



#tnofood Food, Science and Birmingham – The first New Optimists forum.

These are the faces of the latest bunch of New Optimists and if you’re interested in the future of Birmingham and the future of how we feed ourselves you may just want to follow their conversation as part of job we’re doing tomorrow  (Wednesday 2nd November 6 – 9 pm) .

We will be live blogging the first  New Optimists Forum – a conversation between these fine folk…ten scientists, an architect (last year’s RIBA President no less) and the city’s development strategist take part …. They are Eugenio, Hanifa, Peter and Gareth  (l-r, top row); Rosemary, Jim, Peter and Ruth (l-r, middle row); David, Helen, Ian and Liz (l-r, bottom row).

It’s the first of a number of events which will concentrate on the fascinating issues of how we feed ourselves, and happens to fall in the week we welcomed the babies that pushed our population over 7 billion.

The simplest way to follow and join the conversation is through the twitter hashtag  #tnofood (The New Optimists on Food).  We’re not live streaming this first one but will be sharing material as it happens.

If you’re curious about the New Optimists it’s a Birmingham based not for profit organisation set up by Kate Cooper.  She started by asking scientists what makes them optimistic and ended up publishing a fab book called The New Optimists – still available on Amazon.


Grassroots Podcast: Initiative Brokers, the Big Society and making community wishes come true

Corian Huhenholtz-Sasse and Rinske van Noortwijk
Corian Huhenholtz-Sasse and Rinske van Noortwijk

Meet Rinske van Noortwijk and Corian Hugenholtz-Sasse  – they make wishes come true.

– (dead link)

I met them both in Rotterdam, invited through the wonderful Maurice Specht to speak to the Association of Initiative Brokers ( @inimakelaar )  in Holland, organised by Rinske.

Two days before, Tessy Britton and I had been in The Hague speaking to senior civil servants from Dutch central government.  Read more