Sep 252014

In our next installation of clips, we hear from dancers and cyclists.

Mel Findlater is one of the volunteers at Cambridge Online’s social media surgeries. Local people and community groups are able to book free 30-45 minute sessions for advice on social media topics of their choosing. See the Meetup group for more details.

East of England MEP Vicky Ford spoke at our conversation cafe event, challenging the people of Cambridge (which includes people that visit regularly or commute) to use social media tools to design something that improves rural transport access.

One of the biggest dance groups in Cambridge, Cambridge Lindy (see have made a call for more and better venues for dance groups in Cambridge. Cambridge is blessed with some very vibrant dancing communities – such as Cambridge Dancers’ Club, the various salsa groups and Cambridge Argentine Tango.

Finally, did you think that cycles only have two wheels? The You can bike too project (see is a Cambridge-based project that has a number of bikes that make cycling accessible to people who, for whatever reason cannot cycle on standard cycles. They have helped transform the lives of many people across our city and beyond. Amy and Ruth talk about their project, and finish with a challenge for all of us.

 Posted by at 1:56 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 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 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

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 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 [@] See if your school or college is part of the Cambridge Area Partnership at

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

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 [@]

Many thanks for your continued support

Antony, Anne and David.


 Posted by at 11:46 pm
Sep 062014

A Message from Antony Carpen:

Dear ‘Be the change – Cambridge’ attendees.

Due to event clashes and low ticket sales, we have taken the decision to hold a smaller ‘conversation cafe’ event between 1pm-4pm on 13 Sept at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, and postpone the planned community action gathering until early 2015.

For those of you that have purchased standard tickets, these tickets will still be valid for the rescheduled community action gathering and you will not have to re-order. If it turns out you are unable to make the date, or if you would like a refund, please let me know.

While we are disappointed not to have generated enough ticket sales and registrations, we will be using the conversation cafe gathering to bring as many interested people and groups together for the first time, as well as planning a series of small events and actions to build up towards the rescheduled large event in 2015.

I apologise for any inconvenience this causes, and thank you all for your support in this project.

With best wishes

Antony Carpen
Founder, Be the change – Cambridge.

 Posted by at 1:20 pm
Sep 012014

All three political parties on Cambridge City Council have confirmed they’ll take part in ‘Be The Change – Cambridge’ at Anglia Ruskin University with Cambridge Ahead on Saturday September 13th.

Vicky Ford MEP for the Conservatives, Dr Julian Huppert MP for the Liberal Democrats and Cllr Lewis Herbert for the Labour Party will be speaking at the end of the event about the ideas and suggestions they have heard from the workshops.

Vicky Ford MEP for Cambridgeshire and Chairman of the European Parliament committee for the Internal Market said:

“Cambridge has a worldwide reputation for bringing together some of the brightest minds to find real solutions to real problems. I look forward to joining the discussions at Be the Change.”

Leader of Cambridge City Council, Cllr Lewis Herbert said:

‘This is great community-led initiative and a real opportunity for people from across the area to have a say on issues that matter to them about our special city and the future of Cambridge. Leading City Councillors will be there to listen and contribute, and we look forward to discussing its conclusions after the event’.

Support: Dr Julian Huppert MP is giving his backing for 'Be the change - Cambridge'

Support: Dr Julian Huppert MP is giving his backing for ‘Be the change – Cambridge’

Cambridge’s MP Dr Julian Huppert said:

‘Having grown up and spent most of my life in Cambridge, I am passionate about our city and what it can offer to people here. I’m really excited that this event can bring people together to come up with some really interesting new ideas – and make them happen – so that we can make Cambridge an even better place to live.’

Event founder, Antony Carpen said:

“I am delighted that we will have representation not just from all political parties on the city council, but also from local, national and European levels of government. It is also a chance for local people to put their ideas directly to those that represent us in public office.




For more information please contact:

  • Alessandra Caggiano on 07500 666832 or at
  • Anne Bailey on 07545 696547 or
  • Antony Carpen on 07779 205270 or at


 Posted by at 5:09 pm