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Community, Inspirational things to do, Places to visit  |  15 December 2021

A few of our favourite things — community.

A collection of the books at the RISC World Shop
RISC World Shop has a diverse range of titles on global and local issues
The UK Youth Movement campaign to end the nature crisis
Katherine Byam talks to Mark Elliot about her work to improve companies “entrepreneurial sustainability"
Mark Elliot, host of the People Helping People podcast
"Ice Ball" shows a community winter craft steeped in heritage and history
The Ice Harvest community in action
The POoR Collective team in front of the mural they painted at Carney's Community youth centre
The Becontree Centenary installation POoR developed as part of RIBA National Schools Programme that seeks to connect young people with architects and architecture. Photo credit: Luke O'Donovan
The flax planted by Thorody in their 1-acre Flax Field
The team harvesting the flax for processing to weave their linen
Their latest campaign "Natural Kingdom", is a series of commissioned wall murals
One of the wall murals in Liverpool. The murals highlight species and habitats that are most in threat in the area
A community garden in Reading where volunteers can learn new skills, make new friends and get inspiration
Community gardens help bring beautiful colour to urban settings

A list of some of our favourite communities and campaigns and how you can engage with them.

Whether you like to listen, read, watch, visit an event or discover someone doing great work via their online presence, we’ve got you covered.

Something to read

The World Shop at RISC (Reading International Solidarity Centre) is a favourite amongst the Kiss House team and houses central Reading’s only independent bookstore! It sits alongside the Global Café as part of RISC which is a community in itself.

You can grab a coffee, shop for Fairtrade gifts, refill your household liquids, and browse their fantastically diverse and eclectic range of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s book titles. Their titles reflect their desire to promote action on global and local community issues. They run an ethical book order and delivery service through Hive and a monthly book club which often focusses on authors who don’t receive full recognition in mainstream bookshops. Find the book club on Twitter.

Visit the shop website here.
Donate to the shop here.
Visit their social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at these links.

Something to listen to

The “People Helping People” podcast talks to those involved in social change and is a source of inspiration on how to create social good. They feature everything from travel, creating positive global change, sustainability, and uplifting stories from around the globe.

The latest episode featured Katherine Ann Byam, founder and CEO of Dieple, a data-driven consultancy firm. Katherine spoke about the difference consumers and businesses can make to improve the environmental problems communities are facing globally. We enjoyed her description of the work she has done with companies developing net zero, low carbon and energy efficiency solutions for buildings.

Listen to Katherine’s conversation here. You can follow Katherine on LinkedIn , Twitter , visit the Dieple website or listen to her podcast “Where Ideas Launch” on Apple Podcasts.

The podcast’s website is here.
You can listen to more episodes on Apple Music and Spotify.
Follow the podcast on Twitter, Instagram , Facebook and Pinterest.

Something to watch

Ice Ball is a multi-award-winning short film that provides an incredible insight into a community reliant on sustainable energy and natural commodities and its fifty year-long ice gathering tradition. This tradition is keeping the ancient winter craft of ice cutting alive.

It is a nostalgic celebration directed by documentary film maker Nathaniel Schmidt, who in 2020 embraced the cold, deep wilderness of Northern Minnesota USA, to follow renowned polar explorer Will Steger and his band of ice harvesters as they prepared the “Ice Ball.” “The film is a portrayal of human innovation and interconnection that embodies one man’s attempt to move society forward, without leaving the past behind,” according to Gravity Films. We loved it and watching it we felt as though we’d been transported to another world!

Find out more about the film here.

Visit director Nathaniel Schmidt’s website here or you can follow him on Instagram or Facebook.

Someone to watch

The London-based social enterprise Power Out of Restriction Collective aka POoR Collective, focuses on the development of communities by inspiring young people and the under-represented to enter the built environment workforce. They work on elevating the life experiences of the young people they work with by getting their voices heard and providing opportunities.

Run by a group of Royal College of Art trained architectural designers and an accountant, POoR are dedicated to developing communities within the built environment and driving positive social change through community-focused projects.

Co-founder Shawn Adams explains, “young people’s voices are so valuable and important… by working together, their voices can be amplified…this is the crux of POoR. We each have our individual voices, but by joining those voices together we can really start to drive change.”

Follow POoR Collective on Instagram , Twitter,  LinkedIn and visit their website here.

Someone special

Thorody, a Plymouth and Devon based design company, are delivering printed linen for interior projects with a plan to grow their own fibres and create their own woven fabrics.

They recently succeeded in their Crowdfunder to support the growth of a 1-acre field of flax to become the forerunner in establishing a more substantial, commercial, and environmentally responsible flax growing social enterprise.

Thorody’s aim, according to the website, is to develop an integrated “grow, process, spin, weave and sell” social enterprise that links Plymouth and Cornwall based small farmers and creatives to the city and surrounding countryside (and vice versa), by providing sustainable and long-term employment and training opportunities. Uniting the local community of farmers, artists, and designer makers.

Visit the website and find out more about the project here.

Follow on Instagram , Twitter and LinkedIn.

Something to look at

UK Youth for Nature are a UK youth movement fighting the nature crisis through political campaigning, lobbying, and raising awareness. They are making youth voices heard by working with partners, artists, organisations, and individuals to secure walls and artists, to create community murals.

UK Youth for Nature’s current campaign is called “Natural Kingdom” and can be followed on social media with the hashtag #wildwalls.  “Natural Kingdom: Wild Walls is a journey of imagination; a public art odyssey that will engage audiences in the importance of nature and wildlife and paint a concrete vision of a more biodiverse future,” according to their website.

They are commissioning a series of murals in cities and towns throughout the UK to highlight species and habitats that are in decline in the locations the murals are painted. This will happen throughout all four nations of the UK.

You can visit their website here and find out more about the campaign “Natural Kingdom” here. You can also find them on Instagram or Twitter.

Or you can subscribe to their newsletter here.

Somewhere to visit

A Community Garden is any piece of land gardened by a group of people for the benefit of the group and the wider community.

Community Gardens offer open space, a place to relax, a way to engage with nature, opportunities to meet others and get active outdoors. They can be a fantastic resource for groups wishing to promote and improve their mental and physical health, by providing opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education. They are an immensely valuable resource to communities and can transform contested or underused space. We especially love their focus on teaching the craft of gardening and growing including garden design and food growing.

Find a community garden near you (UK) or for more insights in community gardens, or for more information about community, follow the RHS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram  and Pinterest.

We hope you enjoy our suggestions and have been inspired to investigate new initiatives supporting your community!

Best wishes,


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