This week, guest blogger, Will Ashworth, a recent graduate from City of Wolverhampton University, interviews Navi Aukh about her amazing initiative, Love My City.
Wolverhampton is such a miserable city, right? Wrong!
Especially when you are talking to the people from Love My City, the campaign designed to smash this notion to smithereens.
When a report last year by The Legatum Institute labelled the city the most miserable place in the UK, Navi Aulkh disagreed. Navi, who works at the All Nations church on Temple Street, knew what we all know about our city – that it is far from a miserable, and that there are plenty of things to love!
Inspired by this knowledge, Navi took to Facebook to let everyone know how wrong she thought this summary of Wolverhampton was, in an attempt to counteract some of the negativity that it had created. This small gesture of defiant optimism soon sparked a huge response from the so-called miserable people of the city, with thousands of likes and shares in a matter of days. From this, the Love My City Facebook page was born, with Navi using her background in design to create a stunning logo that reflects her passion for the city that is shared by so many.
Armed with an idea that she knew she could grow, Navi pitched Love My City at October’s Make:Shift. Her goal was to start a campaign to promote a message of positivity about the city and to make links with other local organisations and businesses that could help spread the message that Wolverhampton is a magnificent place to be!
The main goal of Make:Shift is to ‘Change Wolverhampton with an Idea’, and Love My City has gone from strength to strength since the meeting in October, with multiple doors being opened to Navi that have helped her turn this goal into a reality.
She has made links with organisations such as Creative Wolverhampton, producing a small range of merchandise such as branded t shirts that were displayed on a stall at the Mental Spaces Art Fair at the Newhampton Arts Centre. They have given these t shirts away to the people of Wolverhampton and have been around the city promoting their message of positivity.
The campaign has also had national coverage, as they were featured on the Radio 4 programme Saturday Live, where local people gave their account of Wolverhampton in response to the recent negative press.
According to Navi, they have been in contact with the city council in order to secure permission to put up a series of posters around the city featuring their hashtags, #NotMiserable and #BetheChange.
As well as the continued promotion of this message, Love My City has also found another function in helping those in need. When they were recently approached by a family of refugees that were in urgent need of clothing and shelter, they were able to use their profile on Facebook to alert the good people of Wolverhampton to their situation. Within three hours they had been donated food, bedding and clothes, and have since offered similar help to other homeless and vulnerable people in the local area.
Just think. Something as simple as a Facebook post, with a little help from Make:Shift, can grow into something making a huge difference to where we live.