Let a thousand flowers bloom …


When people come together something magical can happen. And so proved to be the case when we got together for the first Make:Inspiration session at WildBytes Cafe in Darlington Street last week. We’d come together to watch a TED video about a gangster gardener, Ron Finley from South Central LA. South Central LA has virtually no access to fresh fruit and vegetables so Finley began to put that right by planting up the sidewalks erm… pavements … with fresh fruit and veg. He involved the whole community in the project and soon it became about so much more than simply growing things, Finley found that he was changing lives.

We were greatly impressed with this funny and moving talk and I found the experience of watching the film with other people was very different to watching it on my own.

We had a fascinating discussion at the end of the clip about how the film related to things that we were already involved in or things that we could do.

One fabulous suggestion by Rachel was that as a city we could choose a flower, any flower, and encourage people to plant that flower right across the city, wherever we saw some space to put it.

We discussed a few different flowers that we could use but as a group we seemed to like the sunflower. The gold and black has some resonance to us as a city, but also it’s easy to grow, children love them and they’re great for all sorts of wild life.


We could even have a potting party in the spring where we all get together to get the initiative off the ground.

Why not join us at the next Make:Inspiration session on 14 September at 12:00 for a 12:30 start at WildBytes Cafe Darlington Street. Buy yourself a coffee and maybe some lunch, enjoy a great film and good company for free and who knows what might emerge?


TED talk proves a huge inspiration


Inspiration was available in abundance at our very first Make:Inspiration session at WildBytes café this lunchtime. Nine of us met up to watch this funny and poignant TED talk followed by a wide ranging and interesting discussion. In particular we talked about the opportunity for doing similar food growing projects in Wolverhampton; how proceeding without permission can be applied to other issues e.g. the arts; and how we can protect one of our most precious assets, our incredible people that really want to do things in Wolverhampton, from burning out.

The session was such a success that we have agreed to have a designated TED area at Make:Shift itself on 11th November. 

Our next Make:Inspiration sessions will be on:

14 September

12 October

9 November 

They’re all 12:00 for a 12:30 start. They’re absolutely free and all we’d ask is that you buy a cup of coffee at WildBytes as they are kindly letting us have the venue for nothing.  

We’re always open to suggestions, as you know, so if you have an idea for a TED or TEDx video we could show, just let us know. The only criteria is that it should be inspirational.


Make:Ready for Make:Shift


Make:Ready sessions are going to be happening on an occasional basis in the lead up to Make:Shift 2017.

Our next one is going to be at Gatis Community Space, Gatis Street, Whitmore Reans, WV6 0ET at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday 17th August.

Come along to find out about all the amazing things happening at Gatis Street Community Space; how we might be having our very own SOUP in Wolverhampton; enjoy a free cup of tea or coffee and a piece of cake on us; share any ideas you might have to make Wolverhampton an even better place; and get excited about things even I don’t know about yet.

Make:Ready is the place to network and discuss all your ideas … and to get support to make them a reality. So join us on 17 August. It’s all absolutely free and it’s going to be a lovely evening.


Let’s Make:Inspiration together – Thursday 10th August @ 12:30 p.m.


As part of a programme of activities in the lead up to Make:Shift 2017 (on 11th November), we are going to be showing some TED videos during lunchtimes on a Thursday afternoon, and we do hope you can join us.

How does it work: pop in to Wildbytes from 12pm, order some lunch or a coffee. Eat your lunch over an inspiring TED talk; with an opportunity for a follow-up discussion with like-minded folk. Leave when you want to.

“TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks share the best ideas from the TED Conference with the world, for free: trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses, all giving the talk of their lives in 18 minutes.” YouTube.

TED Talks are licensed under Creative Commons, which means that we can share these amazing ideas for free. We’ll be kicking off with a fabulous and funny story about a Gangster Gardener.


We hope that by watching some inspirational videos and talking about them, we might be able to generate some great ideas to put into action right here in Wolverhampton. But if all these videos do is just inspire us, that’s a great outcome as far as I’m concerned.

So do join us at Wildbytes café on Darlington Street, Wolverhampton in the upstairs room on Thursday 10 August 12:00 for a 12:30 start. Please support Wildbytes (who are providing the venue for free) by buying a coffee or even some lunch.


Future Make:Inspirations will be on:

14th September

12th October

9th November

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Make:Shift’s on the move, and you needn’t miss a thing

A couple of week’s ago I blogged about all the exciting things we have planned for Make:Shift 2017, and the great news is that you can keep up to date  from the comfort of your mobile phone, tablet or PC. Of course we’ll be having the usual face to face get togethers in the lead up to the event but by getting involved online, you can contribute to the development of this year’s event between face to face meetings.

I’m sure that most of our Make:Shift network is on Facebook, but have you liked our Make:Shift page yet? All our blogs are posted directly there and Facebook is great way of us communicating and networking together and finding out what is going on in Wolverhampton and beyond. Do like our page and please let us know about anything you have going on and we’ll give that a plug for you too. On a purely selfish note, the more people that like the page, the wider our reach, so please do give us a go: https://www.facebook.com/makeshiftevent/


For a number of reasons (I won’t bore you with the details), we have switched the Make:Shift Twitter account from @makeshiftevent to @MakeShiftWolves, so if you were following the old account, please do transfer across to the new one. We’d love to see you there and we’re planning to do much more on this channel in 2017.


Looking forward to seeing you in cyberspace.


Make:Ready – it’s Make:Shift time again

We’ve already started gearing up for Make:Shift, Wolverhampton’s annual ideas festival, with the 2017 event aiming to bigger and better than ever before.

Make:Shift is all about supporting local people to make great things happen in Wolverhampton. You put forward the ideas about what you’d like to see and we provide lots of encouragement and support by linking you up with other people in the city that can help you to make your idea happen.


No idea is too big or too small. In fact, the smallest ideas can often make the biggest difference. Here at Make:Shift we firmly believe that once you get a few people working on ideas in an area, it will make life better for everyone.

This year we want to support you to create easily accessible and convenient opportunities for people to take part in community activities that can make a difference.

These ideas might include:

  • Community spaces for wild flower planting. Lovely for us to look at and great for bees and other wildlife too


  • Informal skill sharing opportunities
  • Community cooking projects


  • Working together to repair things that might otherwise be thrown away and end up in landfill
  • Other things you can think of


This year we are planning to ramp up our support to you through our:

  • Make:Ready sessions, where we invite you to tell us about your idea and share your practical skills


  • Make:Inspiration lunchtime sessions, where we seek inspiration from videos, speakers and ourselves in order to stimulate brilliant ideas
  • Make:Soup. The idea behind Soup is to gather people to share a simple meal, participants donate a small sum, say £5. The income generated will be given as a grant to support a creative project that is chosen by you and the other participants. Not only that, it is a great opportunity to network and gain support for your idea too.


  • Make:Do sessions. At Make:Shift itself we want an emphasis on supporting you to make things happen so we want to showcase and ask people to share their skills in practical grass roots activities such as growing things together, cooking, upcycling, crafting, community singing and community building.


Interested? Watch out for ways to get involved and diary dates coming out very soon …

In case you’d forgotten, Wolverhampton is fab …

Make:Shift is unabashedly,  unashamedlyabout Wolverhampton. Here at Make:Shift HQ, we’re rightly proud of our city, and Make:Shift itself is about celebrating all things Wolverhampton.


So imagine our joy at finding this amazing site, Wolves Beat, which is dedicated to extolling the virtues about how great we are. And let’s face it, there’s no better feeling than that.

So take a look and check out some of Wolverhampton’s most famous sons and daughters and perhaps, like me, you’ll be a little surprised at one or two of them.