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Common Ground Café: Five things we would change about Jersey

Common Ground Café: Five things we would change about Jersey

Friday 13 December 2019

Common Ground Café: Five things we would change about Jersey


When they are not serving hot drinks and yummy treats, the team from Common Ground likes to open the doors of the café to book readers, yogis and craft enthusiasts.

Open to the St. Brelade community and islanders as a whole, the café's staff have dished up five ways they would like to see the island evolve...

1. A little more conversation

Chatting is one of my strengths. It’s something I have practiced for years, and it’s something that we fully encourage at Common Ground. A chat sees a person invest a little bit into the life of another, and this can surely only bring about a more pleasant, understanding and thoughtful community.

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Pictured: "A chat, sees a person invest a little bit into the life of another."

Not to mention the impact a daily conversation can have on an individual who may be otherwise lonely.  We know that some of our visitors to Common Ground only get a few interactions a day, whether it’s because they live alone, or are at home looking after their young children, or they work from home, all day by themselves - whatever the reason, we are there to make the time for these people, as everyone should be. 

2. Revive our community 

Common Ground was named as a clear indicator that we are accessible, we are for everyone, for everything! 

As well as serving lovely coffee/food (with optional chat) we have made our space flexible, to host workshops, a book club, a choir, and to show films.

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Pictured: Common Ground is open to hosting everything from workshops, to book clubs, choirs, and shows films too.

We collaborate with local experts in to teach sewing, or to practice yoga together, and we allow other companies or individuals to utilise the space too, to run a demonstration, or to even to film their music video, or exhibit their photography.  

This is our way of reviving a sense of community in St Brelade, and we aim to create a hub, and it would be incredible if this was adopted all over the Island, so a sense of community is formed (or reformed), and there are known accessible hubs of activity – getting us all engaged in the brilliant stuff Jersey people have  to offer.  

3. Make it easier to be green

When we opened, I was astounded at the levels of waste we created. Packaging mostly. We are a small business; I dread to think what waste is generated from larger busier businesses.

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Pictured: "Recycling as a business is not always easy," the Common Ground team says.

Thankfully, because we are small, we can manage our recycling with a few ikea tubs, regular trips to the recycling depot in St. Brelade, and a weekly trip to Jersey Zoo - to drop off our cans.  

However, recycling as a business is not always easy – we would all benefit from larger commercial recycling bins that are collected curb side – just like residential recycling.  

It also really frustrates me that milk cartons are still yet to made recyclable – in the meantime I would welcome the opportunity to purchase large quantities of milk in reusable glass bottles – similarly to those in some shops.  By making recycling easy – I think more businesses would get involved. 

4. More support for small local businesses 

Nobody cares about obtaining your business, more than a small business. By choosing to buy a coffee from a local coffee shop, or to visit a local surf shop, or to get a pizza from a local restaurant -  customers genuinely allow business owners and employees to put the dinner on the table, or to put Christmas presents under their tree!

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Pictured: "By choosing to buy a coffee from a local coffee shop, customers genuinely allow business owners and employees to put the dinner on the table."

I would encourage Jersey people to see through the multi-million pound advertising campaigns of large corporations and feel great about investing in the work of an individual or a small business team.  

Whether it is to avoid the high street and buy a piece of art work from a local artist, or to switch off Amazon, and buy your child’s bike from the local bike shop – however people choose to do it, each person could try to bring in a little local small business love into their week. 

5. Let's embrace the Arts!

Arts in schools (and in our society generally) provide people with an ability to not only express their own understanding of the world, but to gain an understanding of the world of others. 

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Pictured: "To explore the Arts, ensures that children are more confident, bold and courageous."

Learning a protest song from the civil rights movement, or analysing the photo taken during the Holocaust, or exploring the universal themes of love/hate/jealousy/greed… in a script, are all examples of how we enable young people to be empathetic, and to be more certain about their own voice and values.

To explore the Arts, ensures that children are more confident, bold and courageous, and encourages them to take risks, work alongside others, and to develop a work ethic and resilience that gets the product ready for the deadline… because the show must go on! 

I hope schools do not side-line the Arts, for more “academic” aspects of the curriculum - but instead embrace the Arts. and imbed them into the school day, for the future adults we are raising will need these skills just as much as they need academic qualifications. 

 The views expressed in this article are those of author and not the Bailiwick Express.

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