Bright Ideas is a Public Health Agency initiative run by Urban Scale Interventions. The aim of the project is to collect and share “bright ideas” for North Belfast through creative conversations and engagement. This site is a space to share those ideas.
The most liked ideas by the community have been taken forward and realised.
Since December 2019, people from across North Belfast have been creating ideas for how they want to brighten up their streets within local neighbourhoods and communities through workshops and informal chats.
A colourful Teepee was also erected on the junction of Crumlin and Woodvale Road to raise awareness of the project and generate ideas from local residents not typically involved in neighbourhood discussions through community groups. It also helped to highlight ‘grey’ spaces in the area (abandoned, concrete areas with little public use) that could be reformed for brighter, natural or community uses.
Hundreds of ideas have been generated through creative sessions involving more than 250 local people through over 30 community and interest groups. A main focus of the project was to build and develop ideas with people in the local area to help shape its future.
Out of the ideas generated some common themes emerged around sharing skills, adding colour and vibrancy to the streets and improving wellbeing through access to nature. The ideas were sketched out and uploaded to the Bright Ideas website where the whole community could vote for their favourite ideas to then be delivered.
DELIVERING BRIGHTER FUTURE
Responding to a direct need to both be more connected to nature and brighten up the streets, youth groups from across North Belfast created the ‘Brighter Future Birdbox’. The bespoke birdbox was designed with simplicity at its heart, delivered with a simple video and Ikea-style instruction manual to assemble and then personalise through painting. 200 of the bird boxes have been delivered to homes across north Belfast and hung from porches, gardens, trees and lamposts to brighten up entire streets.
Whilst small in nature, the bird boxes go to show that small interventions can have a big impact; not only in bringing nature to the streets of north Belfast, but also helping to connect the community and show that a shared idea can have a big effect on the local area.
The project has been such a success that other areas of Belfast are now considering implementation and there has even been an interest to replicate the idea in Belfast, Maine, USA!
DELIVERING SHARED MEAL
A further idea from community groups was to develop an intergenerational exchange of skills. The Shared Meal idea involves the older generation sharing their favourite recipes for younger people to cook and share. The recipes are graphically designed and all of the ingredients, supplied from local suppliers, and tools needed are delivered to local young people to help them learn how to cook by recreating the older-persons favourite dish and then delivering it to them for review!
The recipes, which include beef stew, veggie dips and apple crumble have already started to be cooked and shared throughout the community, but more recipes are being sought. In the coming months, the recipes will make their way into a North Belfast cookbook to be shared through local businesses and organisations.