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Follow the brown signs

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Here’s to establishing an arts, culture and community space in my hometown!

I sing the praises of destinations with brown tourist signs because I love all things heritage, arts, culture, sport, countryside, urban and creative, basically anything FUN! Places with brown signs celebrate all these things and I visit them to immerse myself in what they can teach and show me about the world I live in. But as much as visiting these places started out as a quirky pastime, slowly it has turned into much more than just a fun thing for me to do – seeing the imaginative ways that these places engage their audiences, how they contribute so significantly to their communities and inspire learning and engagement has frankly restored my faith in the human race. It has opened my eyes to such an amazing world of people and subjects that have enriched my life so massively, it’s the reason I started this website, but it occurred to me recently that to really make a difference you have to make it yourself. I don’t mean “make it” as in hitting the big time (that hasn’t happened as yet people, I’ll be poor and struggling along forever don’t you worry!), I mean “make it” as in do it with your own two hands, to plough all your time, effort, blood, sweat and tears into a project and produce something meaningful. I do a marketing job to pay my rent and work on this project the rest of the time but I’ve realised that I’m not really doing something tangible, in a physical space, making a difference with my own two hands as it were.

To this end I have been in conversation with a few like-minded individuals from my home town of Bromley in Kent. I’ve always despaired at the low-key and virtually non-existent nature of the innovative and engaging cultural/creative/imaginative/arty-type scene in Bromley which is positively booming everywhere else around us in other London boroughs. Creativity lies within everyone and we can all appreciate history and the arts even if we don’t know it, the key is to have them presented well. So recently I got to wondering if I could help kick start a “scene”, working with artists and passionate people who feel the same as me… and where better to start than a derelict Grade II listed historic pub sitting in the heart of Bromley in a sorry state of disrepair? Well that sounds perfect – I’ll take it!

It’s going to be a long and difficult process to do this, a Chinese restaurant chain has put in a bid for the lease that is currently being considered, however the fact that the building is listed, it needs a lot of work spent on it and that restaurants all over Bromley are feeling the pinch and closing at a rate of knots bodes well for the potential for my community arts centre to put in a more sustainable bid with the support of the community and some fantastic and important funding bodies who share these community values.

The idea is only in its very early stages and I’ll keep you updated on all my progress. I’m sharing everything I do and everything I find out on my new facebook page. I’m told that the more people show their support for these sorts of community projects online the better it looks for funding applications – thus I am begging your good selves to “like” it! Here it is y’all and thank you so much in advance 🙂