On the 28 January, 22 people from Wrens Nest community and various organisations came together to hear inspirational stories and learn about how a trade school could make a difference within their community.
Tessy Britton who is a social designer actively working with communities and Laura Billings who is the co-founder of Trade School London and inspired by collaborative projects came to Wrens Nest community Centre to share their experience of inspiring communities and help Myra, Dee and Ann explore how Wrens Nest could start their own Trade School.
When we were invited to the session we were encouraged to bring along a barter item to get a feel for how Trade School works. Participants embraced this idea and around 27 different items were offered up for bartering! These included flower arrangements, gift sets and advice about cheap hotels for half term week!
Exciting Stories from other places
To get people’s creative juices flowing and encourage us to see what can be achieved when people are inspired Tessy and Laura told us stories about Social Spaces and the amazing things that have been achieved by people coming together within communities. There are a few examples below;
Men Sheds – started in Australia and help connect men with their communities. It supports programs to improve their health and well being.
The Common Room – is a communal neighbourhood space that is homely and encourages creativity and a comfortable space where relationships can be built.
PieLab – is a platform for conversation, ideas, and design. PieLab = a neutral place + a slice of pie. A neutral place + a slice of pie = conversation. Conversation = ideas + design. Ideas + design = positive change.
Tessy and Laura talked to people from Wrens Nest about how to start a Trade School as part of their project around taking an asset based approach to wellbeing. Activities will be led by residents from Wrens Nest, who have passion, skills and knowledge to share
Tessy explained how Trade Schools can help to build social capital and why the effects of social capital are important and how they link to wellbeing. The central premise of social capital is that social networks have value. Social capital refers to the value of all “social networks” [who people know] and the desire that arise from these networks to do things for each other.
Social capital emphasizes a wide variety of benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. Social capital creates value for the people who are connected and sometimes for bystanders as well. People tend to live longer, healthier lives and we have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others. “It’s about self worth and community spirit”
Trade School started in New York around 3 years ago. It is a non-traditional learning space that runs on barter. Students sign up by agreeing to meet the barter requests of teachers. Swap food, resources or advice for new knowledge. What is also demonstrated through Trade School is how it inspires confidence in others as many students realised they themselves had skills to share and then went on to become teachers.
You could learn how to bake bread in exchange for potted herbs, teach basic bike maintenance in return for recipe suggestions or books, learn how to use social media and the internet by bringing wool or materials. You can teach a class about anything you are passionate about – and say what you’d like to receive in exchange.
Anyone can teach a class! Be a teacher, learner, co-founder or all three!
Myra made a really valid comment around the fact that “people think it needs to be a trade, they don’t see what they have to offer, even if it something like, reading a book to someone who doesn’t see or read very well, that’s a skill”
Next Steps for Wrens Nest…
A group of people including Myra, Dee, and Ann, Lorna Prescott, and me are forming a founders group for Trade School Wrens Nest!
Photo credit: Lorna Prescott