Space Makers street team hits the high street

Over the past few weeks Kirsty and I have spent our Sat­urdays on the high street of West Nor­wood vis­it­ing busi­nesses (gems) of the com­munity. Our aim was to tell them about the West Nor­wood Feast, explain how they could be involved and then inspire them to get involved — first stop was giv­ing us their pro­file info for this very web­site.

Not an easy task, for there seems to be a his­tory of ‘com­munity pro­jects’ that have not quite suc­ceeded in get­ting off the ground. How­ever, that didn’t stop us and it has actu­ally turned out to be a won­der­fully reward­ing and inspir­ing exper­i­ence for us. West Nor­wood has a wealth of stor­ies pretty much wait­ing for us to uncov­er and the more we worked it the more we real­ised that this plat­form aka West Nor­wood Feast is the ideal oppor­tun­ity for har­nesses­ing and cel­eb­rat­ing this vibrant com­munity.

I also real­ised that although I am a local, I rarely get to inter­act with the com­munity the way I dur­ing this time. Col­lect­ing this inform­a­tion became an oppor­tun­ity to chat, share stor­ies and indulge in memor­ies, and gos­sip. I got to learn who used to live here and what they did, who lives in the here now and who knows them, who knows someone who knows someone who might want be involved…

Who knew that Sally in the Flor­ists has been work­ing in West Nor­wood for over 30 years? And Car­oline, who owns the hair and beauty busi­ness Salon 234, has been here for 17 years and works over the road from her mum — who runs the fruit and veg stall and has also been here as long as Sally!

What became appar­ent to me very quickly as I ‘did’ the paper­work was the devo­tion to West Nor­wood and the love of their com­munity, and the desire to bring back the high street to its ori­gin­al glory and poten­tial. The coun­cil seem to be unpop­u­lar with the shop keep­ers (that’s a nice way of put­ting it) but in spite of this they (and indeed me) enjoy being part of the com­munity and love the daily pleas­ures local inter­ac­tion can bring.

This kind of inter­ac­tion amongst the com­munity is some­thing I have always craved — and know­ing what West Nor­wood Feast is aim­ing to achieve, and what I exper­i­enced on Sat­urday, this inter­ac­tion is the future.

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