The Social and Environmental Sustainability of Clothes

Interested in sustainability and clothing issues? We have been asked to help promote this event by Mike from Finsbury Rd who attends the LAT. Looks interesting – anyone wanting to go or know more, contact Mike by email at

I’m running a one-off event for which I need committed environmental people to contribute to research with colleagues at the Open University on sustainability.

This will involve attending a focus group/workshop at the Hanover Centre, Southover Street on Thursday 3rd July (8 – 9.30pm), looking at people’s views on sustainable and ethical clothing and there will also be some chance for discussion, a bit of a snack and I hope we’ll have some props, displays too and a bit of fun. You don’t need to know anything about clothes!

The aim of the focus group is to understand how we can encourage consumers and also retailers to change practice. For this we want to get views of individuals who are: already committed to related sustainability/eco issues and explore some questions together. It is part of a short piece of exploratory work – being undertaken in Brighton because of the Green concentration – and it will help inform a major research project planned to influence DEFRA and policy.

The poster below summarises the main theme. It would be great if you were able to take part in the focus group – please let me know as I need to have an idea of numbers for snack, handout and seating purposes.

Please let me know

Best wishes


Mike Clothes

A bit about Mike
Mike is a freelance researcher, living in Brighton, who specialises in community projects, co-operatives and social justice causes.

He is a Visiting Research Fellow in the Co-operatives Research Unit at the Open University since 1998 where he has researched social enterprise organisations. Mike is also a research associate at the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR), where he has been involved since 2004 on projects concerned with community development, advocacy, state/third sector representation mechanisms, community participation, impact and measurement, and the role of community asset ownership. Before this, Mike worked in the sector for nearly 20 years at the Development Trusts Association, Community Matters and Save the Children. He holds a PhD from the Open University and an MA in Social Policy from the University of Sussex. He has spoken at academic and practitioner events in Germany, Mexico, Poland, Sweden and Japan. Mike is a member of the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN, UK), Social Policy Association (UK), European Social Enterprise Research Network (EMES, Belgium) and ISTR (Baltimore) He has published work on social enterprises, civil society and advocacy and remains active as a volunteer and activist in local community action.

The Return of CityCamp

IMG_1079On March 22nd-24th people from across our city will be coming together for CityCamp 3 to work on their ideas for how to create a better future for everyone. It’s a free event, and people from every area of life come along, including community groups, digital professionals, council employees and education professionals. Everyone is welcome!

Why Attend?
you should attend because:
  • You can have great ideas
  • It’s free
  • It’s fun and inspiring
  • It is full of interesting people who all share a passion for Brighton & Hove
  • It doesn’t matter whether you’re someone with an idea or a problem to solve, or if you have skills you can bring. CityCamp is for people who are passionate about our city and want to find new ways of doing things.
Inform: Presentations about the issues that face the city. Friday 22nd March 2-5.30pm, Sallis Benney Theatre
Discuss: Come and discuss ideas to make the city better. Saturday 23rd 10am-5.30pm Brighthelm Centre
Do: Turn those ideas into actions. Sunday 24th 10am -5pm Hove Town Hall
For Saturday 23rd we are providing a free crèche for children from 0-8 years old. Places are allocated on a first come, first served basis and are limited so please book your place and ticket asap at This is kindly provided by the Brighton and Hove Parents’ Forum.

Brighton & Hove Independent Drugs Commission

A guest post from the council community safety partnershipDrugs com

In May 2012, in response to an initiative by Caroline Lucas MP, the Safe in the City Partnership convened a commission of those involved in reducing the harm caused by drug use, to bring a fresh look at the city’s response to the problems and to suggest ways in which the local agencies could be more successful in reducing drug related harm that mattered to the citizens of Brighton & Hove.

The commission found much to commend in the current strategies and programmes: In recent years, the police, council, health services and community organisations have all worked well together and introduced some new ways of preventing and reducing drug related harm. These initiatives have contributed to a reduction in the number of drug related deaths in the city from 50 in 2009 to 29 in 2011. Overall rates of drug use in the city are coming down, and more people than ever successfully receive treatment services. We know, too, that a significant majority of young people growing up in Brighton & Hove have never used an illegal drug.

However, the commission consider that there is more that can be done to help people in the city be safe from drug related harm and therefore, over the last 9 months, the commission has been looking at four key questions:

  • Are the current strategies to prevent drug related deaths sufficient to achieve a significant reduction in the coming years?
  • Are the policing, prosecution and sentencing strategies currently pursued, effective in reducing drug related harm?
  • Are we doing enough to protect young people and to enable them to make informed decisions around drug use and involvement in drug markets?
  • To what extent does the treatment system meet the treatment and recovery needs of the citizens of Brighton & Hove?

For each question, the commission held discussions with local and national experts and local residents to help them to understand the challenges and possible responses, and has drawn up some preliminary conclusions and recommendations.  

The commission would like your feedback on these recommendations, please go to the city consultation portal to give your feedback by 1 March 2013, so that the commission can consider your views before publishing their final report at the end of March 2013.

On February 27th, a public meeting will take place hosted by Caroline Lucas with invited speakers from the Commission. All are welcome.

The meeting will take place at City College Main Hall, Pelham Street 6 – 7.30pm 

Valley Gardens Consultation

Thanks to Ben Coleman in Transport Planning for this guest post.

vgimage-webGood Morning,

As part of the Valley Gardens project, two consultation events have been organised for members of the public to come and view the proposed masterplan, and to give their views on it. The aim of the Valley Gardens project is to upgrade the open spaces and improve routes for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and public transport.

The events are taking place (weather permitting!) on Thursday 31st January and Saturday 2nd February at the following locations:

10am-11.30pm         In front of Brighton Pier

12 noon- 1.30pm      Pavilion Gardens

2pm-3.30pm            Victoria Gardens

4pm-5.30pm             New Road

6pm-7.30pm            St Peters Church

If people are unable to attend the events, they can find out more at, by emailing, or by calling 01273 290487.

Friends of the Level Meeting and Update

Guest post thanks to Matt Cook of Friends of the Level
Dear all,
The Friends of the Level would like to invite you to a General Meeting on Tuesday 25th Septemember at the Phoenix community centre from 7:00pm. All are welcome.
The Level is a vibrant community space used by a wide range of people of all ages and diverse backgrounds. Whether it is used for playing football, cricket or Frisbee, practising circus skills, dog walking, skating or just relaxing, meeting friends and having a picnic, The Level remains a vital and well-used community park, much loved by the residents of Brighton for centuries.
In light of the news of the £2.2 million of Heritage Lottery Fund money that is about to be spent on the redevelopment of The Level, and the iminent closure of the Level, the Friends of The Level are holding a general meeting to discus the implications of the new park and what people from local community can do to take part in its future.
The Friends of The Level are an open community group that serves as a platform for residents, community groups and park users to come together to discuss and promote activities and events that help create a positive and enriching park, and to help preserve the environmental, historical and cultural heritage of The Level for future generations.
On the Agenda
  • An update on the Parks Projects redevelopment plans.
  • Schedule for the Level redevelopment and information on the children’s playground.
  • Update on skate park funding
  • Treasury report
  • Upcoming events
  • A discussion on what types of activities/events that people would like to see on The Level
  • An open discussion from those people attending the meeting on what the FOTL might aspire to and its future role in the community.
Please feel free to circulate this invitation to any you feel would be interested in attending or finding out more about what the Friends of the Level are planning in 2012.
Best wishes
Mat Cook
Chair – Friends of the Level

Hanover Takes to the Streets (1)

Not sure how long something needs to run for before it becomes a ‘tradition’, but perhaps Zocalo is starting to settle into that territory.

Simply put, it’s an evening at the close of summer for us to bring a sofa (chair.. whatever) onto the street and share a chat and a drink with neighbours. That’s it. Simple. See you there.

For more info see

Social Media at the Hanover Hub

Back by popular demand, two more Social Media Surgery events at the ‘Hub on the Hill’ Place Space sessions at the Hanover Centre.

The previous events held in May attracted a great and diverse bunch of individuals and groups who wanted to get more out of the web, and was supported by a top notch array of volunteer ‘surgeons’ helping others with knowledge, skillls and advice.

Next Thursday (July 12th) and the one after (July 19th) as well as being our Social Media Surgery events, will be the last Space Place sessions for the summer. If you have not been thus far, do drop in – the informal sessions   include crafting skillshare, home made cakes and light lunches at the cafe, free wifi and laptop, a second hand bookstall and local history resources.

The Social Media Surgery saessions start at 12 noon, but the Place Space is open from 10.30 for all its other things. Hope you can come.