The September conversation at Roscoe Methodist Church hall saw some new faces joining those of us who are getting the hang of it all now, including Georgina and Rev. Mark from Roscoe  and Larna, Chapeltown’s Community Organising trainee,  Some themes are beginning to recur, which probably means they’re ripe for action and ideas were certainly flowing.  My notes just cover the discussion about supporting local business and some of a conversation about Chapeltown Development Trust.  The two other conversations were about the local arts scene and about the co-housing group’s eco-village plans for Leopold Street ( and they’ll be written up by Sandra & Ali/David.

Conversation about supporting local businesses

Norma from Orlondo’s came along to share her problems with an excess of stock.  We talked about whether someone else could help her sell it (including via Ebay, or selling it by weight).  This generated an idea for an event (eg before Christmas) where local businesses showcase their wares and Orlondos could fill half of the Roscoe hall with with clothes – this could tie up with the Development Trust’s own festive fair or market, so Cath will pass details on to the markets subgroup to see what they think.

There was some discussion over whether helping Norma would be a good student project – eg for a fashion or marketing student.  David works at one of the unis, so he could broker a meeting and Cath will ask Yvette who works at LMU.

We talked about the way businesses which sell to different kinds of people market themselves in different ways – eg some use lots of social media and appeal to a set of people spread city-wide or regionally, while others have a very local market and are very unfamiliar with promotion via the internet.  It could be beneficial for different businesses to promote each other to their different markets – neither needs to do anything different or more than they already do, just mention the other every now and then.  For example, Garry has a print project which is producing headscarves which Norma will hem – he’ll tweet about Orlondo’s and Norma will mention his exhibitions to her customers in the shop.

The Leeds Social Media surgery is a monthly drop-in session run by volunteers, where you can go for help with learning about blogs, facebook and tweeting and someone might help you create a ‘social media strategy’ for marketing your business:

We talked about linking businesses together, for example having a ‘Chapeltown business directory’. Cath mentioned that CDT and Unity Enterprise are awaiting funding for a joint ‘Chapeltown Enterprise Network’ project, which would both create a network and also have a local small business advisor.  We remembered the ‘I heart Chapeltown’ bags the Council produced a few years ago and came up with a ‘Made in Chapeltown’ brand, that all local producers could use (thought it might work really well for baby clothes!).

Norma mentioned that what she really wants is someone else to handle the marketing and systems side of things, so that she can just get on with sewing.  This generated another idea of the businesses all collectively employing someone who’s job would be to check in with them all, keep them networked with each other and help them with general business advice if they’re struggling with anything.

Supporting Chapeltown Development Trust and Chapeltown Conversations

Unfortunately I’ve lost my notes about what we said in this session, so here’s some stuff from memory. We talked about getting Conversations to be more linked up with Chapeltown Development Trust, what CDT is for and how it could generally be supported.   We talked about how Conversations could continue now that the funding from the council’s Area committee and from Feel Good Factor is coming to an end – Bryan from East North East Homes seemed to think the ALMO should support Conversations and that it would be easy to get the money.

And this is a classic example of why notes should always be written up straight away.  Ho hum.

The next Conversation is on Saturday 24th November, 3-6pm at Leeds Reach on Chapeltown Road.

cath x