As a Morecambe resident I can appreciate that Morecambe isn’t just beguiling for its coastal wares..the town is also awash with a thought-provoking and colourful diversity in its people. An exciting pallet of creativity and skills, particularly in the West End of Morecambe where The Arts and creativity are as ingrained in the community as the sand that dresses the town.
The beating heart of the creativity began with The Exchange; an organisation passionate about creativity, inclusion and social change. Beki Melrose and Jo Bambrough brought vision and love to create A beautiful hive of its kind that became the first to recognise and action the demand for change within this small part of Morecambe. Now called The Good Things Collective, Over time, this blossomed exponentially to create an environment of inclusivity, where residents could embrace art over coffee and friendship; fostering and nurturing ideas, paintbrushes and Hope.
I arrived in Morecambe, three years ago under difficult social circumstances, looking for sanctuary and a chance to have a better quality of life and found The Exchange, where the opportunity to grow artistically and socially became an important element of my life.
Living in the West End hasn’t always been easy though.
Beyond the glut of prom-side cafes, beloved book shops, and postcard-picture prom side homes, There is a forgotten demographic, where money is pumped into the aesthetics of Morecambe and used to veil the issues our community live in and experience every day. The poverty here a huge neglected elephant in the room, lack of job opportunities and those with jobs struggling to make ends meet. Families living below the bread line and at best teetering.
A huge issue here - and with personal experience - is a woeful lack of safe, affordable housing. The chance to live somewhere within one’s means in conditions that aren’t sub-standard. A family home. The Health Foundation (October 2017) looked at the impact of housing issues on health and the results unsurprisingly were dismal. “1 in 5 dwellings do not meet the Decent Homes Standard” ..and crucially, this represented a third of the private rental sector. A lack of adequate housing has a direct impact on both mental and physical health.
The Good Things Collective recognise this and want change for Morecambe.
The vision is to realise a more inclusive community with a social housing action.
When I was approached to contribute my skills to help the campaign I became a part of movement to improve opportunity and social circumstances for local people.
As part of that process I created a campaign poster and slogan that heralds the beginning of the Hands on Housing movement.
To be able to contribute to a blog that will allow everyone to voice their needs and vision for a better future for residents here is my opportunity to have my voice and advocacy for local people aired.
Let’s work together and get our 'Hands on Housing'!