Doing “Good for Nothing” in Chester

Spread the WordI signed up to my first Good for Nothing event intrigued by their vibe on twitter and looking forward to meeting some creative, community-orientated people. I didn’t know all that much about it, apart from that it involved a get-together where we would “collaborate for good”.  As a creative sort, it sounded right up my street. So me and Dave (my other half) rolled up to this gig’s meeting place, Harvest Moon, to be welcomed with a jug of free ale, great music and a gang of lovely people.  Alice and Holly (co-leads) made us really welcome and the room filled up pretty quick with keen GFNrs.

The focus at Good for Nothing events (or gigs as they call them) is usually to take on a challenge set by a venture that fit’s GFN’s ethos and needs some input. This time, as it was GFN’s 1st birthday it was an introspective challenge, helping GFN itself.  It was a challenge of two halves based on finding relevant ventures and drawing more “thinkers, do-ers, makers and tinkerers” to turn up to the gigs and join in! So we got cracking in two loose teams.

About three hours, a couple of beers, a hearty bowl of chilli, and much thinking and doing later each team shared their work. In the room that night we collectively website tinkered, logo sketched, social media campaigned, filmed, image-made and generated and debated a mass of ideas. Not bad eh?!

So inspired by the energy of the group I asked Alice and Holly if they could tell us a bit more about them and the Chester Chapter of Good for Nothing they lead….

Tell us a bit about Good for Nothing (GFN)…

Good for Nothing is a community of thinkers, do-ers, makers and tinkerers applying their skills and energy to accelerate the work of cause-led innovators and change makers; it’s about diverse groups of people collaborating together, working in new, faster, fun and better ways by supporting ideas and people – charities, small, young businesses, projects – that are leading the way to what a flourishing 21st century society might look like.

We’re trying to solve challenges collaboratively through gigs (24 to 48hr ‘think, hack, do’, creative collaboration events) and here at our web home. There are a number of ways to get involved, but for starters you could get stuck in to a challenge or check out our upcoming gigs and socials on the calendar, we’d love to meet you!

3 things that make us tick

1.       Doing, not talking

It’s not that hard to talk clever and think big; there’s an oversupply of that in our world. Too often big thinking doesn’t lead to big doing, yet there are so many problems that need a bit of Do. Roll up your sleeves and fail gloriously. Good for Nothing is permission to have a go, get involved, participate and try stuff.

2.       Collaborate and experiment

These are words we all hear a lot. But true collaboration – where real diversity and openness is welcomed, where we let go of power and control, where we self-organise and allow ideas and energy to emerge more naturally and where we prototype and develop them rapidly – is hard to come by. We want more of it.

3.       Support the true innovators

We give creative energy to the real innovators trying to make positive change happen. Most of the exciting social, environmental and human innovation is happening at the grass-roots. We provide creative support to those pioneers. We think that can help accelerate positive change and impact.

What inspired you as a team to set up the Chester chapter?

photo 4 (1) (1)Alice: Having had a very positive experience of collaborating at GFN gigs in London, I was chomping at the bit to set-up Good for Nothing Chester as soon as I moved here a couple of years ago. I jumped at the chance to set-up the Chester chapter when Good for Nothing received funding from nesta to spread the bird about the world, and Camp Nothing took place to train us all up.

Holly: It’s really rewarding to get involved in collaborative, community-led ventures and I stumbled upon Good for Nothing Chester shortly after it had launched in 2013. Alice and I hooked up, got on like a house on fire, and it was great to be asked to come aboard as a co-lead.

How can people in Chester get involved?

If you feel you have something to offer and you’re up for getting together with us, or you know of a venture that might want some help, then you can contact with us by:

Signing-up to the Chester chapter page on the Good for Nothing website:
Emailing Alice or Holly on
Dropping us a tweet to say hi and follow us on twitter @GFNChester Following us on Facebook!

Tell us a bit about your plans for 2015…

Straight on it with a social on 9 January to get us going in 2015, with our resident DJ Alex Foster on the decks at Harvest Moon Café bar. All you gotta do is turn up, grab yourself a drink and say hi. We’ll say a quick hello, talk about our 24hour gig plans 2015, and then we’ll be nominating GFN Chester Connectors.

We’re planning our next 24 hour gig in early March. If you have an idea of a truly innovative local Venture you’d like GFN Chester to support then give us a shout and point them our way.

And who are the GFN Chester Connectors?

[GFNChester Connectors are] one from each industry/badge area to help GFN to reach those communities of talented and skilled people in Chester, and get them involved with Good for Nothing.

Our new badges are; Play; Think; Do; Code; Design; Music; Write; Cook; Connect; Make.

Where can people find out more about your events?

Take a look at our Chapter page and say hi, register for a gig or a social, get together with us and give some good, for nothing. Good for Nothing has a whole range of Warbles about the previous gig and the Ventures they’ve worked with. This is my favourite.

And finally – what aspect of Chester’s arts and culture do you enjoy most?

In Chester we have the opportunity and space to collaborate and build on the shoulders of giants, to prove that this small city can make big, brave, bold and inclusive social experiments. I love Sam Ryley’s One Chair Project (obviously because I was nominated) but more because he took a big risk and just put himself out there, for nothing, for Chester.


Thanks Alice and Holly!


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