Peckham is a real community

When I tell people I live in Peckham, I am often faced with the question ‘why?’  Known for being the home of ‘Trotters Independent Traders’ from the tv show Only Fools and Horses and the place where Damilola Taylor was murdered, I can understand the question but it’s clear whoever asks hasn’t visited!

It’s a very creative neighbourhood with Camberwell College of Art and Goldsmith College close by, the South London Gallery and numerous art projects – Frank’s cafe, the pop-up Campari bar on the NCP carpark is a great example of the creative projects happening in the neighbourhood.

Peckham was hit by the sad events of the London Riots – shops were vandalised and a shop and bus were set on fire.

Photo from The Guardian website

Photo from The Guardian website

The riots were heartbreaking, sad and scary but over the last couple of days an even stronger sense of community has emerged. Peckham clearly has such a strong sense of togetherness that people have turned the Poundland boarded up window into a place to stick post-it notes of their feelings.
Peckham Poundland, Rye Lane

I went down to have a look to see what messages people were putting up. It had drawn a crowd of people reading what the community had to say and it has turned into a real piece of artwork. Peckham felt colourful, full of life and meaningful. The following messages really stuck out:

‘Peckham is home’
‘I love Peckham. I hate rioters’
‘Need discipline’
‘Community, don’t do it’
‘Crime doesn’t pay’
‘Burger King will reopen and you are barred’

Peckham post riot messages

These messages are important, not only for people to get their feelings across to others but to strengthen the community, make the rioters realise that the critical mass of poeple is made up of people wanting to live in a pleasant place, that if we empower people to make a difference we can live in happiness. The riot clean up was amazing, I wish I could taken part to help clean up after the riots – I would say I’ll be there next time but my hope is that this community won’t allow this to happen again.

Message being written on post-riot board, Peckham

Message being written on post-riot board, Peckham

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Finally, an exciting employee engagement scheme!


Ecoinomy, the web start up founded by sustainability guru, John Grant has launched! Using employee engagement, service design and exciting innovation, Ecoinomy’s ‘eco.system’ rewards employees for actions they haven’t taken. The employees are then financially rewarded, communities are formed, employees gain a sense of achievement and motivation and the company saves money by saving energy.

You have to love win, win situations – the environment wins, the employee wins and the company wins!

I could write about this for hours but instead I recommend watching the launch video. It is great to see a famous dragon on board too to help spread the word!

For more information, go to the corporate website www.ecoinomy.com

Latest photos from The People’s Kitchen

Thanks to all those that have been coming down to The People’s Kitchen on a Sunday afternoon. There are more photos from events which can be viewed here

@ Passing Clouds every Sunday
We need more volunteers for preparing food, cooking and for any thing else you can help with!

Please follow us on Twitter @TPKitchen, spread the word, help us to expand and eliminate food waste.

Visit the People’s Kitchen website for more information:
2-4pm food drop off
3-5pm food preparation
6-8pm dinner time

Design Ambassadors profiled on the Design Council website

I have become a design ambassador for the Design Council’s Water Design Challenge.

The challenge is being run by the Design Council in connection with Southern Water and schools in the south east. The aim is to engage key stage 3 students to understand the environmental effects of water usage and use their creativity to find ways to reduce the amount they use. The ambassadors will be working with the teachers but will be there to engage with the students, help empower them, get them to be creative and promote design.

Last year Common Ground won the challenge with ‘The World’s Smallest Water Exhibition’ – a fantastic water exhibition housed inside a porta-loo!!
Common Ground

This year’s design ambassadors have a profile page on the Design Council website which explains why they believe in and why they are taking up the challenge. Have a look at the diverse range of designers getting involved: Design Ambassador Profiles

Collaborative Consumption workshop @ NESTA 08/02/2011

I was very grateful to be able to participate in a really exciting workshop at NESTA on collaborative consumption. Rachel Botsman has been in the UK promoting her book ‘What’s mine is yours; how collaborative consumption is changing the way we live‘ and has subsequently been giving talks and presentations.

Rachel Botsman

I was lucky enough to present The People’s Kitchen project I’m working on at the start of the session. I received some great questions from the other participants. People were interested in finding out who comes along, how it is being funded, what a typical donation is and are supermarkets ever concerned about being sued by giving away food past their sell by date?

Louise presenting 'The People's Kitchen'

The workshop session was focused around how the rise of collaborative consumption can impact on Public Services, particularly in these difficult times. The group I worked with was on how to re-invent the service offering and business model of libraries! Facilitated by the excellent Mok from Innovation Beehive, we acted out an idea around changing libraries into a zoned space allowing it to used in different days during the day.

NESTA workshop

I came away from the workshop feeling very positive about how collaborative consumption can help our public services. We need to come together and share our experiences and skills to help improve what we already have. There are a large number of opportunities out there for developing the services we use – we must not be scared about changing the way we currently do and view things.

Critical Mass – making a change

I came away from an interesting conversation today about service design feeling very inspired. I enjoy a conversation where two minds think a like and share similar values, especially when you work on different types of design for different types of clients. We discussed co-participation, the need for understanding research and how research methods are only useful if used correctly, how clients think they know what their employees/end users want or are doing and how a large problem can be solved very simply with some deep thinking.

It reminded me of the ‘word’ I chose to represent me at our MA degree show ‘Critical Mass’ (ok, it’s two words but I was let off). The more people that understand what ‘service design’ is and understand its value will mean we will live in a happier, more sustainable place. We are getting there….

“Critical Mass”

To create a sustainable lifestyle we need to change our behaviours. People follow trends, especially from their friends, celebrities and the media. If we can create mass behaviour change in the way we live, we can start to make a difference to the world around us. Defined as the minimum amount of something required to start or maintain a venture, critical mass is something I associate with cyclists coming together at the end of the month to make their mark on the streets. This is a great example of people showing solidarity, unity and common attitudes. If enough people who feel passionate about a subject, come together to make a change, the change is likely to happen!

People’s Kitchen win January Awesome Foundation

My cousin has started a fantastic food waste project in East London – the People’s Kitchen! Collecting left over food from local supermarkets (currently The Grocery and Lidl) and people’s homes, Steve creates a menu each week and gathers volunteers to help cook the food. Anyone is welcome to come along and ‘dine for a donation’, enjoy a fun evening, meet people and help prevent food being wasted.

With a passion for social innovation and preventing food waste, Steve and I entered the Awesome Foundation to win £1000. It’s such a fantastic idea; 10 creatives in London have come together to give £100 each a month for someone to do something ‘Awesome’ in London.

Up against tough competition (‘to be loved again‘, ‘desert machine’ and children’s books aimed at adults) on 19th January, we won…. and what a great feeling it was!

£1000 may seem like a small amount of money but it means the People’s Kitchen can buy some proper equipment which won’t only allow the menu to be more varied but will mean Steve can train up more volunteers to come and help.

For more information, see the flyer below: