Tubby McBathtub embodies social action spirit in Stoke Aldermoor

We’re hear to tell you the story of Tubby McBathtub… rescued from a watery grave and given a new purpose in life by a hard-hit Coventry community. But first we must take you back to the start.

Place Based Social Action in Stoke Aldermoor is one of twenty national partnerships funded by DCMS and The National Lottery Community Fund. It’s about people-led solutions that help young people and families thrive and it is changing the way public services and communities work together under our Shifting Power strand of action.

A group of young children stand in a field in Stoke Aldermoor in Coventry cheering at the camera
Children from Stoke Aldermoor cheer for the camera
Local initiatives happening now

In the two years from June 2019 to June 2021 (and through the pandemic) people living and working in the area have sparked and led eight social action initiatives through the Stoke Aldermoor Social Action Partnership (SASAP):

  • Better Streets
  • Aldermoor Cyclemore
  • Lift Me Up
  • Pandemic response (deliveries of food and medicine and ongoing development of a social supermarket)
  • Aldermoor Youth
  • Grow Eat Learn allotment project
  • Summer of Fun 2021
  • Stronger community centre (now the Stoke Aldermoor Community Foundation)

There are nine organisational partners in SASAP including a local social enterprise, social housing provider Citizen and Good Gym. Our resident representation has increased from four to 10, with many more involved in core campaign teams.

“SASAP is a long term venture. Meetings before were short term. It was, ‘we’ve got an issue. We’ll resolve it’. Never ‘let’s grab everybody. Let’s take responsibility. Let’s all get involved.’ I’m proud to be part of SASAP.” (Mandy, Citizen Housing)

A man in waders pulls a bathtub from the River Sowe in Coventry
Tubby McBathtub was pulled from the River Sowe by Coventry Park Rangers (photo credit: Coventry Park Rangers)

Spotlight on ‘Lift Me Up’ and Tubby McBathtub

The Lindfield in Stoke Aldermoor, a piece of land edged by social housing, was regularly used for fly-tipping. A core team determined to clean it up was formed after broken glass injured a resident’s dog. The Lift Me Up campaign quickly sprang up, calling to action a local councillor and the Recycling and Park Ranger teams at his disposal to organise a clear up.

Citizen, the social housing provider, responded with a £5k grant to tackle the issue long-term and work with their tenants on how the land should be used and managed going forward.

And just as those ideas emerged, so did Tubby McBathtub from the depths of the River Sowe nearby! A fly-tipped bath, spruced up and given a new lease of life as a recycled planted tub. Kept healthy, watered and looking good by Lindfield locals and now with a new home under the ‘Welcome to Stoke Aldermoor’ sign.

After seeing the improvements and talking to SASAP, Aldermoor Youth is joining Lift Me Up with their own ambitions for their local parks and sports pitch.

“In the early morning when I go to school now, there’s hardly any trash. Before there was trash everywhere you looked.” (Local teenager, Serena)

People gather around a recycled bathtub planting it with plants and flowers in Coventry
Members of the community planted Tubby
Our shared vision

To see those who live and work in Stoke Aldermoor leading social action; an active, connected and thriving community; the public and private sector working differently with local people.

Place Based Social Action is built from the ground up – led and driven by people from Stoke Aldermoor. Nothing happens which is not driven by a community identified need and where energy and motivation from the community lies. Nothing of value that lasts can happen any other way.

Our community organising tools and methods

Our conversations help uncover what matters to local people, their motivations and values in life, their strengths, capacity and willingness to either join or lead social action for their community.

Also through public meetings, listening campaigns, local government assessments, community-based temperature surveys, social suppers (partnership meetings), Collaboration Stations, existing city-wide networks, training on understanding and developing people’s ‘story of self’, social messaging platforms, core teams and campaigns.

Luc’s story

“You need all perspectives to take the right action. I see a sense of pride.” (Luc, Akwaba social enterprise in Stoke Aldermoor)

Luc was new to the neighbourhood and launching his social enterprise Akwaba to provide extra-curricular support and food to children from African migrant families whose parents were often working different jobs both day and night.

SASAP provided Luc with a small grant to get his homework club off the ground and helped him develop his story of enterprise to share with partner agencies who could help it grow with more support and funding.

A planted recycled bathtub filled with flowers and decorated with paint
What next?

Our aim for Phase Three is to create lasting impact by building a stronger community saturated with self-renewing initiatives that give people (residents and workers) in the area the human resource, experiences and confidence they need to tackle their challenges.

What does that currently look like?

The community, including 40 young people, has identified four key campaigns for Phase Three:

  1. Life Me Up campaign to continue against fly-tipping, increasing neighbourhood pride
  2. A better park (led by Aldermoor Youth)
  3. A better pitch to play on (Aldermoor Youth)
  4. Gangs, knife crime and generally feeling afraid (Aldermoor Youth)
  5. Racism (Aldermoor Youth)
  6. The challenges of being gay in Stoke Aldermoor (Aldermoor Youth)

We’ll also explore leadership and accountability within SASAP, our understanding of power and what has changed so far in Stoke Aldermoor as a result of SASAP.

More to come as we follow local capacity and energy across the area!

Different pairs of hands hold the edges of a painted recycled bathtub planter in Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry
Stoke Aldermoor Social Action Partnership is taking matters into its own hands

Stoke Aldermoor Social Action Partnership

We listen to each other
We act on what we hear
We don’t need to wait for services to come in and ‘fix’ it
We are active and engaged citizens and will hold ‘power’ to account through SASAP.

For more information or to get involved if you live, work or provide services in Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry please contact Kyla or Rose at Grapevine.

Click here to watch a video about Collaboration Station which anyone is welcome to join on the third Wednesday of each month and where you are likely to meet members of SASAP!