Oct 022014

Cambridge has a number of active, innovative and vibrant community groups campaigning on all things sustainability. Several work closely with Cambridge City Council’s environment team to reduce our city’s environmental impact.

Could Cambridge become a smarter city? – Thu 30 Oct, 18:30, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 8 Mill Lane, Cambridge CB2 2RW

Part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas 2014, this repeats an event hosted in 2013, so it will be interesting to see what progress our city has made over the past 12 months. See our Meetup group here for links to tickets and to Antony’s blogpost from the previous year’s event.

Transition Cambridge – AGM: Mon 20 Oct, 19:30, Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA

Click here for more information. Transition Cambridge have a number of interesting projects running across the city. From growing their own food to hosting skills shares to exploring renewable sources of energy, Transition Cambridge put the theories into action. They recently co-hosted a very successful ‘restart’ event where local residents brought broken electronic gadgets in for examination and repair by a number of very talented experts. This was featured on ITV Anglia on 2 October – see the report here.

Cambridge Cycling Campaign – AGM and presentation by Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter: Tues 4 Nov, 20:00, Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge CB5 8BA

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign work closely with the city and county council to improve transport in our city. Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council stated at their election hustings in Spring 2014 that the campaign plays an important role in scrutinising planning and transport projects. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter is the Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk at the University of Cambridge. He will be giving a talk titled ‘How risky is cycling?’ See http://www.camcycle.org.uk/events/ for more information.

Liberated Feast – Sun 16 Nov, 18:30, Centre St Pauls, Hills Road, Cambridge.

Raising awareness on global food waste, the brainchild of Jennie Debenham this was first launched in 2013 with local MP Dr Julian Huppert as a guest speaker. Volunteers cook up a lovely vegan banquet for over 100 people using produce from farms, shops, allotments and local supermarkets that would otherwise go to waste. Proceeds from the event go to a school feeding project on for the Milimani School on Kenya’s Rusinga Island. Previous events have sold out so get your tickets fast! Click here to buy your tickets. If you are interested in sustainable food issues, have a look at the Cambridge Sustainable Food City project at http://www.cambridgesustainablefood.org/ - a number of firms and colleges are part of this project.

Dowsing Sound Collective’s Christmas Cocktail – Sun 14 Dec, 19:30, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Wheeler Street, Cambridge

Our friends at the Dowsing Sound Collective are hosting their excellent Christmas musical extravaganza in aid of Cambridge-based music foundation, The Dosoco Foundation. Dosoco are also one of the beneficiaries of Be the change – Cambridge. Last year’s Christmas Cocktail event sold out the Corn Exchange. So if you don’t want to miss out, get your tickets from the Corn Exchange here. See below for a recording from Dowsing’s summer 2014 concert in Bury St Edmunds.


 Posted by at 1:01 pm
Sep 182014

Antony Carpen appeared on the Breakfast Show with Dotty McLeod (@dottymcl on Twitter) on Thursday 18 Sept 2014 to talk about the voxpop films that are part of the project. (See the album of videos at https://vimeo.com/album/3022053). Watch the interview below

Antony also recorded a ‘video blogpost’ – or vlogpost for short – on the discussions the art and culture group had at our Conversation Cafe event at Anglia Ruskin University on Saturday 13 September 2014 (see previous post here). Watch the vlogpost below:

Cambridge Area Committees

Filming at community events and council meetings, and helping educate people about how local democracy in Cambridge functions is also part of our autumn filming project. In the interview below, Antony asks Councillor Richard Johnson, who represents the Abbey Ward in Cambridge, about why area committees are important, how they enable residents to raise issues face-to-face with councillors, and enable councillors to scrutinise local public services – such as policing, on behalf of residents.

Cambridge Communities Fair 2015

Back in spring 2012 when Richard Johnson was standing as a candidate in the local elections, Antony asked Richard to back an idea of a big ‘societies fair’ for Cambridge similar to the ones organised by Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin students unions. Click here to see his response!

As you can see from the link above, Richard backed the idea. Fast forward two later and the now Councillor Richard Johnson, executive councillor for communities, arts and recreation, announced the go-ahead for this as a council-organised event for Saturday 28 February 2015 at the Cambridge Guildhall. This has the potential to be one of the biggest and one of the most exciting community action events in Cambridge’s recent history. It could significantly increase the sustainability, activities of and the range of our community groups and organisations. Be the change – Cambridge is supporting Councillor Johnson’s efforts to organise and deliver a successful event.

Accordingly, we have created an online holding page for the communities fair on our Meetup page to help raise awareness and avoid event clashes. See the page at http://www.meetup.com/Be-the-change-Cambridge/events/207803082/. If you are interested in joining the working group that is organising the communities fair, please get in touch with Councillor Johnson using the contact details here.

“What does this mean for our big community action gathering in early 2015?”

The events will complement each other. One of the things we will be discussing is when the best time to schedule our community action gathering to support rather than compromise the communities fair.



 Posted by at 12:51 pm
Sep 142014

Over 50 people took part in our Conversation Cafe on Saturday 13 September 2014 at Anglia Ruskin University – the first of a series of events that form part of our project. Co-chaired by Dr David Cleevely CBE and Anne Bailey of the Cambridge Area Partnership, guests taking part identified issues and ideas that formed into a series of themes including:

  • Community action
  • Arts and culture
  • Transport and housing
  • Green spaces
  • Growing up in Cambridge
  • Improving local government

We have uploaded some slides that capture some of the discussions that we had. See

We were joined by the Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Gerri Bird. See what she had to say in the video below having taken part in some of the discussions

We also had representation from all three political parties on Cambridge City Council, and the three tiers of government with Vicky Ford MEP, Dr Julian Huppert MP and Cllr Lewis Herbert taking questions from participants.


We are grateful to photographer Lucinda Price who took lots of excellent photographs of the day – have a look at them on her website at http://lucindapricephotography.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/be-the-change-cambridge/

As well as having residents from across the city taking part, a number of people took part representing community groups and campaigns, such as the Cambridge Student Hub, the Cambridge Map Project and the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. We also had the Dosoco Foundation - one of the two beneficiaries of our project, represented by Andrea Cockerton of the Dowsing Sound Collective. We were also delighted to welcome Alan Alexander of the Haverhill-Cambridge rail campaign. With a large support network in Haverhill, the campaign is looking to work with Cambridge to re-open the old railway line that linked both places, and extend it all the way to Colchester. This opens the possibility of a direct rail service between Cambridge and Chelmsford – a boost for Anglia Ruskin University if we can make it happen.

We also benefited from the input of representatives from some our sponsors & supporters who joined us, including Bob Ensher of Morgan Sindall, Jane Paterson Todd of Cambridge Ahead and the team from Cambridge Event Management.

The workshops

We invited everyone to write ideas and issues onto post-it notes. We grouped the post-it notes into themes, which workshop groups then discussed how we could turn them into actions. At the end, we invited groups to summarise what they had discussed. The housing and green spaces workshop’s presentation is below – unfortunately the only one that survived the video transferring process! Apologies for the other presentations that wouldn’t transfer!

Everyone was invited to undertake one small action or one small behaviour change as a result of taking part in the conversation cafe. It was great to see people from different backgrounds and with different experiences coming together to take on the challenge of making our city great.

Want to get involved?

If you’d like to get involved in making our city greater than the sum of our parts, please join our Meetup group for free at http://www.meetup.com/Be-the-change-Cambridge/. This will ensure you are kept up to date with future events. We are also on Facebook and Twitter at @Bethechangecam.

We are also looking to run similar events with young people. If your school or college is willing to host a ‘Be the change – Cambridge’ event, please email Anne Bailey at the Cambridge Area Partnership at abailey [@] cap14-19.org.uk. See if your school or college is part of the Cambridge Area Partnership at http://www.cambridgeareapartnership.org.uk/index.php/about-us/cap-partners

For further questions about the project, please contact the project founder, Antony Carpen at antonycarpen [@] gmail.com.

Many bridges, one Cambridge. It’s your city.

Be. The. Change.



 Posted by at 5:45 pm
Sep 072014

Hello everyone

Just to confirm, our Conversation Cafe will go ahead on 13 Sept from 1pm in the Ashcroft Building (Broad St entrance) at Anglia Ruskin University. This event is ***free*** and you will get ***free tea and coffee*** at this event. Click here for tickets for the conversation cafe event.

A number of politicians have confirmed they will be coming to this event, so if you’d like to contribute, suggest ideas and have conversations with them over a cuppa, please join us!

For those of you that have paid for standard tickets for the original big event, you will have received an email from Antony Carpen offering you either a full refund, or the option of carrying your ticket over for the rescheduled big event for early 2015. We’ll have details soon on when that date will be.

“What will happen at this ‘conversation cafe’?”

The most important thing is meeting each other for the first time. Looking at ticket numbers at present, we’re expecting around 40 people. This matters because interested people have mentioned one of the most exciting things about this project is people working on issues with others who they might not otherwise meet in their working or social lives.

We’ll also be looking at who needs to do what, who is able to do what and where the gaps are on reaching our potential. This could include your suggestions on what we as the organisers need to do to make future events a success (esp in terms of numbers of people taking part as well as the actions they take as a result). It could also include small actions by you – such as featuring a small article in your community group’s newsletter.

More voxpop interview clips

This series features Transition Cambridge and the Cambridge Sustainable Food Project. These clips were filmed at the Mill Road Food Festival on 07 August. What do you think of the ideas?

If you’d like your idea to be featured in a future set of clips, or if your group is running an inclusive activity that is making Cambridge greater than the sum of its parts, email Antony at antonycarpen [@] gmail.com

Many thanks for your continued support

Antony, Anne and David.


 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Aug 212014

We have a growing list of our wonderful sponsors, without whom we would not be able to put on the event

Headline sponsors

We are grateful to Cambridge Ahead and Anglia Ruskin University, our event’s headline sponsors.

CA core logo                         Anglia Ruskin Logo RGB colour

Have a look at what Cambridge Ahead is all about in the video below.


Event sponsors

We’d like to thank the following organisations for their support

Cambridge_Network_583a0_450x450    Print     MorganSindall      new-mathworks_logo

Event marketing and management

We are grateful for the services of Cambridge Event Management and Brand Anonymous for helping promote our event and for ensuring everything’s going to run smoothly on the day!

Print         bA-logo-web-black-280px

Event supporters

We’d also like to thank the following for their support

CAP logo 2

UKgovcamp (from web)   Cambridge Hub      kite_tsa


Prospective sponsors

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Anne Bailey at abailey [at] cap14-19.org.uk.

Prospective stallholders

If you are interested in having a community stall, please contact Antony Carpen at antonycarpen [at] gmail.com

Page 9 of our Be the Change – Cambridge Brochure has details of the event sponsorship and stalls packages we have.


Want to join us at Be the Change – Cambridge? Click here to get hold of your ticket

 Posted by at 11:31 pm
Aug 182014

The event is on Saturday 13th September at Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge. It starts at 9:30am.

To give you an idea of how the event will be run on the day, we have published a draft agenda. Click here or on the ‘Event Agenda’ tab on the menu bar at just below the ‘Be the change – Cambridge’ logo.

It is still in draft at the moment – we welcome your feedback on it.

  • Which things should we change?
  • Which things should we keep?
  • What in your experience has worked and what has not?

We’ve had some useful feedback prior to publishing the draft agenda – for example reducing the number of afternoon sessions from three to two, and extending the breaks to give you more time to talk to each other. This advice came from a number of you who have been to open space events hosted in London and Birmingham. Our thanks for your advice.

Please drop Antony an email at antonycarpen [at] gmail [dot] com if you have suggestions on improving the draft timetable.


 Posted by at 1:49 am
Aug 072014

If you haven’t already booked your place for our event at Anglia Ruskin University on 13th September with Cambridge Ahead, please click here. Standard tickets are £10 + Eventbrite’s £1.25 booking fee. Free tickets with no booking fees are available for those on low incomes, people under 21 years old and those volunteering to help out at the event.

Digital and social media volunteers – why they will be important

The UKGovCamp network - who were the first to offer financial support to this event, set the standard for large gatherings with social and digital media use at their heart. My first ‘govcamp’ was in early 2011 when I was a civil servant at the Department for Communities and Local Government. Being surrounded by 200 people all passionate about improving public services using social media was an amazing place to be given where the world was over three and a half years ago. That is the sort of creative energy I hope we can unleash in Anglia Ruskin’s state of the art conferencing facilities on their East Road campus. The venue matters, which is why I’m delighted (not just as a former ARU student) that the Vice Chancellor has given his backing to this event as a headline sponsor.

Having an excellent venue is one thing, but having the people and volunteers to get the best out of it is quite another. This is why we are inviting people passionate not just about Cambridge but also about social and digital media to step forward as volunteers on the day. In particular we invite students in further education who might be working towards college programmes or things like the Duke of Edinburgh awards. We want people to post content on relevant social media sites before, during and after the event – ensuring that what we achieve on the day spreads far beyond the venue rooms.

What does digital content from these events look like?

One of the events UKGovCamp supported earlier this year was CommsCamp14 in Birmingham, which I went along to. To summarise:

“So, this is a round-up of 8 videos, 2 vines, 162 pictures, 15 blogs, 8 storifies, 1 infographic and 7 useful links posted as a result of commscamp.”

Click here for the links to all that’s mentioned in the above quotation. To give you an idea of what video footage in a community action context might look like, have a look at the digital video below which was from an event about the future of the Mill Road Depot in Cambridge.

Avril, the woman giving the presentation has experienced homelessness herself. Her insights at the event were a complete education for me. There were things she taught all of us that we were not previously aware of. Watch the video in full for yourself. Ask yourself what new insights you learnt. This indicates one of the many positives I hope will come out of the event: People interacting with others who they otherwise might not meet on a regular basis.

An example of using digital video to share information – again in a Cambridge context is the Cambridge Lakes project. Some of you may not be aware of the three large lakes that were once quarries situated at the far eastern end of Mill Road just beyond the Coldhams Lane Sainsbury’s. Steve Turville who runs Limoncello in Cambridge has been the driving force behind the idea. I filmed this presentation at a community meeting in July 2014.

With up to ten workshops happening simultaneously, having people covering the workshops will be incredibly useful for everyone – especially those who cannot make the event. Despite the not-brilliant quality of my digital filming (I only started properly in the summer), the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

If you are interested in live-reporting via Twitter (we’re also on it @BeTheChangeCam), posting useful links onto our Facebook page, taking photographs and short film clips and/or writing post-event blogposts or even showing guests how to use social media, please get in touch with me – Antony at antonycarpen [at] gmail [dot] com.

An example of filming at an event - in this case me at Hitchin's Rhythms of the World Festival. Photo credit Penny Homer @SocialSoprano

An example of filming at an event – in this case me at Hitchin’s Rhythms of the World Festival. Photo credit Penny Homer @SocialSoprano

 Posted by at 2:40 pm