Be the change – Cambridge is a call to action, bringing the people who make up our great city together. Our challenge?

“Can we make Cambridge greater than the sum of its parts?”

The project was founded by Antony Carpen in the summer of 2014 along with Dr David Cleevely CBE and Anne Bailey. Have a look at this introduction from Antony, and the ideas from some of the local people that took part in the Mill Road Food Festival in September 2014

We had our first gathering at Anglia Ruskin University on Sat 13 September 2014. over 60 people joined us to identify a number of issues that we could work on. Since that event, there have been a number of developments both at local government and at a national level. These are linked to the City Deal announcement.

Our next gathering is our originally-planned community action event, for Saturday 14 March 2015 at Anglia Ruskin University – details coming soon!

Not everything goes to plan!

We originally planned for a large one-day community action gathering for over 200 people. We chose 13 Sept because we wanted to bring as many local people and organisations together to help co-ordinate actions to reach out to the students arriving in late September/October 2014. This decision was informed by outreach work Antony had done over the past few years. He learnt that student volunteering societies and local community groups were not as informed or aware of each other as they would like to be.

We knew it would be a risk organising a large event with a small window of opportunity to market the event post-summer holidays. Unfortunately due to event clashes and the pressures of that small window, we were unable to sell or register enough people for a large event. The event clashes also meant that a number of large, active community organisations were unable to send representatives along, despite strong support for our project. Hence we consulted and took the decision to replace the large event with the smaller conversation cafe, and reschedule the large event for early 2015.

Who is on board?


We are delighted to have the backing of Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Ahead as our headline sponsors. We are also grateful for the support of Cambridge Event Management and Brand Anonymous. We are also grateful for the continued support of the Cambridge Network, Real VNC, Morgan Sindall and Mathworks, alongside the backing of UKGovCamp, the Cambridge Area Partnership, the Kite Teaching Alliance and the Cambridge Hub. See our sponsors page here. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Anne Bailey at abailey [at] cap14-19.org.uk.

Cross-party backing

We’re extremely grateful that all of the political parties represented on Cambridge City Council have given their firm backing to our project and its aims. You can read the words of support from Vicky Ford MEP, Dr Julian Huppert MP and Cllr Lewis Herbert of Cambridge City Council here. This announcement even made the pages of the Cambridge News – see here.

Learning by doing

Cambridge has not seen a project like this before. With principles of ‘open by default’ and ‘digital by design’, we want to ensure the people of Cambridge have a chance to share their ideas and plans of actions with each other, and to influence the institutions that make decisions about our city. We want young people to be conspicuous by their presence and actions. Throughout autumn 2014 through the Cambridge Area Partnership, we are reaching out to schools and colleges to invite young people to take an active part.

We are also providing opportunities for people to experiment with digital and social media. The video above, filmed and edited by Antony is an example of this – having only recently completed an evening class introduction to digital video. We are already working with the councils’-backed community portal Shape Your Place  to provide opportunities for people to upload content from our events online. Expect to see photographers, community reporters, people live-tweeting/blogging and recording digital video at our events. This will help those unable to attend events in person take part and see what happened.

Want to get involved?

Our volunteers page here explains a number of different ways you can get involved. We are incredibly grateful to all of those that have taken part already in our digital video voxpops. Have a look at a different set of clips here.

Would you like to record a voxpop for Be the change – Cambridge? Or perhaps you’d like to get involved in some other way. If so, drop Antony an email at antonycarpen [@] gmail.com

 Posted by at 11:09 am