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Local Democracy Event and The Stove’s AGM!

Last night we held our yearly AGM which was a typically animated and entertaining Stovie night! We began this year with a discussion for our members around local democracy. Scottish Government has begun a national conversation about the need for more decisions to be made at a local level and they are asking for ideas about ways to do this.There has been much community-led activity around the country of late, with much of it being informal and grass roots. The question we posed at The Stove last night was how could this genuine popular activity become part of the larger power structure of our country?

In particular, we focused on the role that “alternative peoples town halls” could play – by this we mean places like The Stove that are publicly accessible and full of life and energy; places where conversations about ideas, change and projects naturally happen and places that people know they can always bring ideas or find out what is happening. Members talked about their experiences connected with The Stove and how Stove projects, discussions and partnerships created a fertile ground for the local community to get involved with making their own place for the future.

Conversations included:

  • Keeping democracy visible using empty shops etc. as “alternative town halls”;
  • Cultural activity being a brilliant way of keeping democratic process accessible and relevant for communities;
  • Uniting people around specific projects for their community being the catalyst for involving people in local decision making.

Then the AGM itself was a warm and supportive affair with an atmosphere of positivity about the last year and the future. The final accounts and Chairs Report will be posted on the website in 2 weeks time when we get the final audited accounts back from the accountant at the beginning of December.

Read the Tresurer’s Report here: Treasurer’s Report

Musings News Project Updates

‘Making Dumfries’ – a new Charter

Members of The Stove Network are gearing up for Guid Nychburris again. We have been involved in the festivities for the last 2 years and are finding it a brilliant opportunity to work with and talk to people in Dumfries about the future of the town.

Recently we have been inspired by some of our researches into local movements of people working together to make the places that they live in better by thinking creatively and taking practical measures like pooling skills.

Guid Nychburris celebrates the granting of a Royal Charter to the Burgh of Dumfries in 1395. We thought it would be interesting to speculate about the sort of Charter the people of Dumfries might grant themselves for the future prosperity of the town.

For absolute clarity…this idea of a popular Charter is NO way ‘official’ – it will have no formal status at all…it has not been ‘commissioned’ in any way. A group of local artists just thought this could be an interesting contribution to the conversation about the future of the town.

We plan to launch the Charter on Guid Nychburris Day (21st June) – getting people to help us ‘unveil’ it in a typically Stoveish manner and offering people special memorial copies that they can also add to and edit as they choose.

We are getting in touch now to invite you to contribute to the new Charter – our idea is that the Charter should focus on people and what is important to quality of life… to paraphrase the US constitution ‘ Each Citizen covenants with the whole people and the whole people covenants with each Citizen that all shall respect certain principles for the common good.’

The Stove already has long standing partnerships with groups and individuals working in these areas – over the next couple of weeks we will be asking people to help us come up with a phrase (20 words max) for their particular area of interest that we can add to the new Charter.

We propose that the Charter begins with the statement that:

We promise each other that our making together will be shaped by these values, for the common good

  • Our idea is that this opening is followed by a series of statements about how the town regards the following:
    • Young People
    • Diversity
    • People with disabilities
    • Enterprise and opportunity
    • Culture and creativity
    • Heritage
    • Environment
    • Belief
    • Civic society and local democracy

This is also a completely open invitation to anyone with an interest in this project to take part….please either leave a comment at the bottom of this post, drop us an email at [email protected] or contact us through Facebook or Twitter.

Also let us know if you are interested to be involved in being part of the project team to bring all this to fruition for Guid Nuychburris Day and beyond

We are not intending crediting individual contributions on the Charter itself – but we would hope to list everyone involved as part of the project documentation. Please include with your contribution the way you would like to be credited or a confirmation that your contribution should be anonymous

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