It was incredible to see over 100 people coming together last night for the Brightoneer’s first event. Dave and I thought it would just be a small gathering, but with 150 people registered it had grown to something much bigger than expected. I was getting nervous when just a couple of hours before the start, some people were saying that they wanted something with more structure, and at the same time I was getting messages from other people saying that they wanted to keep it very free-form. I guess you can’t please all the people all the time! Then someone wise said to me that the people who come will be right people, and that’s exactly what happened. I’m glad to say that included some of the ‘structure-seekers’ who I had some great chats with and who brought a positive energy to help with more focussed events in the future.
It was a truly inspirational group of people and many I’d never met before. Here are just a few examples of Brightoneering in action:
- The Happy Startup School – a fantastic idea to bring more meaning to entrepreneurship
- Conscious Business UK – spreading the word about Conscious Business and other related initiatives
- Undiscussables – how to out the elephant in the room
- hiSbe Food CIC – the ethical supermarket opening this year
- Brighton Energy Coop – helping people in the city generate their own sustainable energy
- BHESCo – a social enterprise bulk buying energy for people in Brighton
- Wired Sussex – launching the amazing Fusebox project
- Stay Up Late – promoting the rights of people with learning disabilities to live the lifestyle of their choosing
- Exeter Street Hall – the campaign to secure an important community space into community ownership
- The Bevy – a community owned pub
- Drop – a coop that exists to help web developers
- The People Who Share – a social enterprise dedicated to building a Sharing Economy
- purple dot – a non-profit organisation that supports and connects people, businesses and organisations who are helping to create a better economy
- NixonMcInnes – my good friends working to make large organisations more social, and moving towards employee-ownership
- Feel free to add others in the comments.
It was also great to have our MP Caroline Lucas there, engaging with people, listening and supporting as well as Thurstan Crockett from Economic Development at the council. There are people in government that care as much as we do, which gives me a lot of hope.
So we’re off to a great start. We need to make Brightoneering projects like these the main thing in our economy, not just a small ethical sector. We need to grow this economy to provide everything that local people need from energy to food to transport as well as exporting the things that Brighton is best at – like the creative and digital sectors – to the rest of the world. We need to build this pioneering new economy by collaborating and working together. We now have a community of almost 200 people and growing who want to be a part of this. Let’s make stuff happen.
After a nice informal start, let’s plan some more events where we can working on things together. There’s already a lot of energy around a focussed event for coops which I’m very excited about. If you have other ideas, remember that this is OUR community – it’s not ‘a Tom Nixon thing’ – so you can instigate whatever you like. You can discuss ideas on the message board.
There is also CityCamp 2013 coming up on 22-24 March. This is a fantastic opportunity to kick off new Brightoneering projects. I will be there and so should you.
So THANK YOU again to everyone who has helped to kick off the Brightoneers movement. We have purpose, people and energy. Everything we need to make Brighton better.