At the Eden Project Community Camp, we saw so many great speakers, and we couldn’t wait to share them with you! For the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing stories from just some of the outstanding movers and shakers we got to meet. First up, is Paige Alicia, talking about The Happy You Project.
What makes people belong?
Paige Alicia is from Northampton, a town that she claims never felt like it had a lot going on, especially for young people. Being mixed, Paige saw her own lack of a clear place to belong mirrored in Northampton’s uncertain cultural identity, particularly unstable since the loss of its cobbling industry. Drawing inspiration from her studies and travels around the world, Paige realised that places with a strong sense of cultural identity, are places where there is a strong sense of community, belonging and mutual support.
Having made her 2018 resolution to gain a sense of community and belonging, Paige decided to do something to make people feel good about her too often slandered city. She collaborated with with Laura Graham, a learning and development specialist, to run some wellbeing workshops. These were successful, but they soon realised that if they wanted to reach more people they would need to do more.
Amplifying their impact
This led to the creation of The Happy You Project, a project to create ‘happy, connected communities in our town’. They continue to run community wellbeing workshops as part of this project, but when inspiration struck they created The Happy ‘Hood zine. Zines are small self-published magazines, which traditionally have been published by punk, feminist and grassroots groups. It’s small circulation and specific focus on a set theme is makes it the perfect form for nurturing small communities, as it is available for anyone to read and enjoy, yet creates a sense of being part of something.
The ‘Happy Hood
The Happy ‘Hood reports on good news stories from Northampton, including happy news from community groups and local businesses. The zine is also sold online and in local shops and cafes. Each new issue is accompanied by a launch event, where people can come together to celebrate the happy news and meet one another. They are now on their third issue, and continuing to make their city, happier, healthier and more positive. For me, this is an exciting, because so many people complain about their towns and get stuck in this cycle of negativity. The Happy You Project actively disrupts this pessimism, while also enabling people to connect and get inspired to make a change.