Resilient Livelihoods Meeting, UCS 28 April

Our Resilient Livelihoods theme is focusing on how we can create new community based businesses to help make the local economy more resilient to impacts from climate change, peak oil, resource depletion and economic uncertainty. The aim is that such businesses would provide a fair income for their employees, as well as being resilient themselves.

As one of 10 Transition initiatives in the UK selected to participate in the REconomy (Renewing the Local Economy) project, our Resilient Livelihoods theme is also getting some support from the Transition Network, mainly in the form of advice and sharing best practice.

Our first Resilient Livelihoods meeting generated some issues for our two delegates, Dano and John, to take to the inaugural REconomy project meeting in Totnes. At our second meeting, Dano and John reported back and led some excellent discussions on the kind of businesses that participants could envisage.

We started last week’s meeting with a review of the need for more resilient livelihoods in Ipswich. We then moved onto an exercise which involved randomly selecting businesses from yellow pages and placing them on a matrix of community and job resilience. We placed each business where we thought it is now, and decided the direction we’d expect it to move in future. We felt that most businesses would increase in overall resilience, one wouldn’t change and another would either decline in overall resilience, or transform and grow. This type of analysis should help us decide where to focus our efforts as we develop the resilient livelihoods theme. The matrix we produced is shown below.

Resilient Livelihoods matrix for Ipswich


Next we did an NLP-style visioning exercise, travelling to a future, resilient Ipswich and noticing what Resilient Livelihoods we saw there. Here are some of the things we discovered:

  • More community networks will evolve
  • Community based teaching and skill sharing will be widespread
  • People will have a greater understanding of the links between different parts of the community and the local economy
  • The Waterfront will become a working dock again, supporting agriculture and allied trade – timber, grain etc
  • People will be more willing and able to walk to work
  • We’ll have more diverse shops providing more locally sourced goods and food, along with imported preserves and other desirable goods
  • Ipswich will have more repair services and parts shops and the “throw away era” will be forgotten
  • There will be a greater emphasis on practical items such as batteries and repairable items like analogue electronics

Finally we drafted an action timeline for the next 12 months and beyond.

RL timeline - 1st draft





It’s just possible to read the post-it notes if you zoom in and select full size, and a more legible version will be posted here when it’s ready.

If you’re not already involved in this theme, please join in. The more Ipswich people participate, the more resilient our community and local economy will become. You can either comment below or post on the forum. Details of the next meeting will also be posted soon.

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5 Responses to Resilient Livelihoods Meeting, UCS 28 April

  1. alex says:

    Many of these resilient businesses already exist in one part of town – Norwich Road and its environs! For this reason, I’m glad to see that “engaging with migrants” is put up on the second list with some sense of urgency…

    TBH I don’t think any of this is at all unachievable with current resources, including population, both native and migrant. And I wholly believe they can happen, and must happen.

    The real issue IMO is capturing “hearts and minds” particularly amongst younger people in this town, whom you will need to form your resilient community, at the moment many in their 20s with cars, a normal job, and who are content with the rubbish which passes for nightlife in this area have no real sense of urgency for change, but when things get hard they are often as likely to react negatively as positively..

    I think kids and younger teenagers are in a better position as they can be re-educated and may even find change exciting, but there is a wider issue about how to engage with what could easily become a “lost generation” (those aged from their 20s to early 40s) who are used to passive consumption, as they too need to be reeducated to become positive contributors to this new resilient society..

  2. Steve M says:

    Agree with the need to capture hearts & minds and to re-educate – being able to showcase a real example will help with this. Not sure we have any truly resilient businesses yet though, in Norwich Road or elsewhere. Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm probably comes close, but even that needs petrol for its borehole pump and for distribution of produce. It’ll be great if we can find existing businesses with low vulnerability to resource depletion, climate change and economic crisis, but I think we’ll probably need to create new ones from scratch.

  3. Nick Osborne says:

    This looks like a great session, well done! We have been running similar ones around the country with some of the other 10 Transition Initiatives on the REconomy project and they are refreshingly different and reassuringly similar!

    Nice one! Nick

  4. Graham says:

    Good to see this work being reported and discussed on your website. Have you thought about linking to your local chamber of commerce, the council and other potentially relevant groups ? If nothing else, just the act of asking them if they would like to link begins/extends a dialogue about why they should…and suggests they become involved.

    • steve_m says:

      Hi Graham – we have good links with Ipswich Borough Council via their Environment Panel, several supportive councillors and a couple of TI participants who work with the council. The Chamber is also supportive, as are several local groups. So we have several open doors to push on – just need more engagement from the community! Cheers, Steve

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