Common Ground is just what the doctor ordered. A grass-roots charity in every sense of the word, Common Ground is taking action to make the change that we all want to see. This is a community cohesion project aimed at bringing together refugee families in Brighton and the surrounding area through workshops on their ¼ acre plot of land together. Sharing the land is the foundation for the Common Ground hub, where people can access the resources they need to ensure a happy and safe life in the UK.
Roxy, Project Co-ordinator and co-founder, is a guardian at LOWE’s former bank in Brighton. I sat down for a virtual chat with her about her amazing work with Common Ground, and all the other valuable projects she is a part of.
ON COMMON GROUND
One night Roxy and Co-Founders and Project Managers, Alex and Nick, began talking one night about how they could do more to help their neighbourhood. Currently studying a Masters in Conflict, Security and Development, with a specialisation in Refugee and Migrant experiences, Roxy has long held the welfare of refugees close to her heart and so whilst the Common Ground crew threw around some ideas, they kept coming back to the idea of holistic well-being for refugees. A connection with the land is something many refugees are robbed of when they are dislocated from their own land and as such, the plot of land Alex and Nick had became the perfect nexus for their local refugee community; “a land for the landless”.
One year on and the project is forging ahead, even through these impossible circumstances. In the last year a new shed and two poly-tunnels were made possible through a crowd funding effort, allowing for year-round food production. In the long-term, the plan is for the charity to become fully self-sustainable by selling produce grown on the land and using the money generated to continue to operate and re-invest it in their community. Common Ground are ready for restrictions to lift and bring their community back together!
ROXY: LOCAL LEGEND
When she’s not working on Common Ground, Roxy is working with Hope not Hate in the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group to help stem the tide of aggressive internet trolls and virtual violence. With the increasingly minimal time Roxy has between this work and Common Ground, Roxy is working for Lucy and Yak; a sustainable fashion brand where her latest project was sourcing in refugee seamstresses.
Lockdown may present a plethora of challenges, however Roxy’s clear inability to be idle has resulted in her latest project Bombie Bling; a jewellery line handmade from polymer clay. This jewellery is genuinely joyous and true to her nature, Roxy has harnessed the power of clay for her Boobilicious Fundraiser, donating 20% of all profits to the Brighton Women’s Centre.
Guardianship has facilitated Roxy’s altruistic rap sheet. The affordability means she doesn’t have to be earning 5 days a week to keep a roof over her head and can use that extra time to work hard at her charity engagements. Having moved into her guardian scheme following it’s virtues being sung by her friends already living in the property, Roxy has found that guardianship attracts like-minded people where “everyone has a side hustle and everyone wants to do good.” She has now lived at the property for 7 months and is delighted to have forged so many new, strong friendships.
Common Ground is partnered with Voices in Exile, a well-established Brighton charity that offers support and legal advice for refugees and vulnerable immigrants, which opens up a raft of resources and contacts for clients who participate in either charity. They also work with Brighton’s Women’s Network. Brighton is a listed City of Sanctuary, and there is demand for the invaluable services Common Ground and Voices in Exile in Brighton and the surrounding regions.
If you want to find out more about the amazing work Roxy does through both Common Ground and Bombie Bling, please visit the links below:
Our LOWE Guardians are good at doing good and we love to support them. Through the LOWE Foundation we will be giving grants and promoting amazing causes just like this. We are very proud to have been able to donate our May and June Buy1Give1 fund to Common Ground Brighton, in support of Roxy and her team’s amazing work.
The LOWE Foundation is incorporated and in the process of getting registered.