Winners announced for Bootle Festival of Ideas

Wondering how we’re going to bounce back after 2020? Well, on 2 December, Bootle Festival of Ideas picked its winners in an online celebration event, with ideas designed to help #BuildBootleBackBetter. Six events hosted a total of 161 attendees, with 98 ideas whittled down to eight winners.

Developed over an eight-week programme that ran through the summer, local people shared ideas related to the five themes: making and selling; food and growing; music and culture; health and wellbeing; and spaces for change. The eight finalists will share in a development pot to help them get what they need to develop their ideas and make real impacts in the local area.

Here’s a run-down of the winners…

Lucille Swith’s winning idea is to create a multipurpose Bootle Zine Library and creative hub, focusing on DIY zine making and publishing and amplifying the voices of women, the LGBTQIA+ community and People of Colour. Lucille says “there are no sober spaces where LGBTQIA+ people can go and do activities and connect with people – it’s important that we start facilitating these spaces.” The library will also publish its own zine, Poxy Zine, and collaborate with creators in and beyond the Liverpool City Region.

Mosaic Motivation is another winning idea. Anne Pritchard plans to provide mosaics workshops for the community on a monthly basis. The workshops will support good mental health, creativity, happiness and life fulfilment.

Another is Bee’s Bench, which aims to fill the gaps in our community architecture. Bernadette Colligan’s ‘Bench to Bench’ project shows all the benches that have been added to open street maps, leaving communities free to add new benches wherever there appears to be a gap. “Research shows that benches are one of the many assets needed to create safe seating in public spaces and ultimately make places more accessible for everyone”, says Bernadette. “It’s something everyone can get involved in – residents of any age, and inclusive of disability. Collaboration is key for us to create inclusive, artistic, exciting benches, co-designed with residents.”

Through A Helping Hand, finalist Colette McElhinney Ryan plans to give children in Bootle the high quality tuition that they deserve. Colette has been inspired by her own experience in education, saying “I’ve taught in Bootle for 20 years and come across many bright, inquisitive children that don’t get the extra hand up that many other children receive. One-to-one and small group tuition will help them to achieve potential. Many of them feel that so many doors are closed to them – we can show them that there’s a key under the mat for them to use.”

Finalist Made in Bootle is a collaboration between The Gateway Collective and B4Biodiversity. It will see things that are sown, green or made at home in south Sefton available to buy online and from local independent markets. Already selling online, Made In Bootle plans to develop markets, click-and-collect and delivery services, as well as partner with local services like libraries or community gardens to provide collection for bought items, creating a unique marketplace for Bootle’s makers, charities, CIC and independents.

With plans to get Bootle drumming, Bloco is looking for a space to rehearse samba reggae drumming and build an arts community around carnival and immersive live experiences, collaborating with a global organisation to link Bootle to the rest of the world.

Finalist Ashleigh De la Haye’s idea is called Medea Brewing. She’ll be putting the development money towards a unit for brewing, to make Bootle part of Liverpool’s growing craft been scene. With staple beers such as an Earl Grey Pale Ale, she’ll use delivery apps to get bottles into local corner shops and bars, along with fancy beer snacks and even treats for your dogs using spent grain.

And finally, Adventure Boxes is an idea from Claire Morgan and YKids, who are already working on a line of adventure boxes through Kingsley and Co bookshop, YKids’ latest project. They bring stories to life for children of all ages, with a range of kits including Mermaid Pearls, Pirate Treasure, Build Your Own House and a Princess Kit. “They’re designed to inspire children with stories and storytelling, teaching them to use their imagination,” says Claire. “It’s proven that that will impact on their mental health, their wellbeing and therefore their whole future.”

Kindred’s Erika Rushton says: “It’s great to see so many ideas coming out of Bootle for our socially-trading organisations of the future – and to see the collaboration and creativity of local people. 2020 has been a difficult year for us all, but seeing people who’re prepared to take on those challenges and commit to making Liverpool City Region a better place has definitely been one of the highlights.”

We’re looking forward to seeing these eight exciting finalists #BuildBootleBackBetter. They’re ideas grown from the heart of the community, from people who have seen opportunities around them to make where they live a better place. So, keep your eye out for big things to be happening in Bootle.

Bootle Festival of Ideas was run by Make Liverpool CIC, and supported by Sefton Council and Kindred.