How can we create the future we need and want?

Big Buxton Conversation One

Transition Buxton hosted the first Big Buxton Conversation (BBC1) online on Saturday 24 April 2021 asking the questions ‘What if everything turned out okay?’, ‘What would Buxton look and feel like in 2030?’, ‘How can we create the future we need and want?’

Groups, individuals, businesses and residents from every part of Buxton were invited to take part and a group of around 50 attended.

They used a tried and tested, simple but powerful process: establishing where we are now – ‘What is?’; imagining where we’d like to get to – ‘What if?’; and then working out how to get there – ‘What next?’.

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” William Arthur Ward

Transition Buxton CIC hosted the event for free with thanks to the Transition Network UK, The National Lottery Community Fund and the National Lottery players.

The Big Buxton Conversation - What Is?
The Big Buxton Conversation: What is? by live sketch artist, Jenny Leonard

What Is?

For the ‘What is’ session, attendees broke into different groups to take stock of Buxton at this present time. Each group explored either Resilience, Relinquishment or Restoration. Notes were taken in each and then the main points fed back to the whole group.

  • Resilience – what should we keep?
  • Relinquishment – what should we let go of?
  • Restoration – what should we bring back or improve?
The Big Buxton Conversation - What If?
The Big Buxton Conversation: What if? by live sketch artist, Jenny Leonard

What if?

For ‘What if’, the group travelled forward to 2030 for a walk around Buxton, using all their senses and then discussed the world they had imagined, recording the ideas, visions and questions. For example,

  • What if we had a citizen’s forum or town council?
  • What if we grew food in public spaces, green walls and roofs?
  • What if children could play safely in their neighbourhood streets?
  • What if there was a shared community hub in the town centre for local activities, pop ups, artisans, support groups, learning, lending, repairing, and sharing?

What next?

The group split the ideas into themes and voted for those they felt had the most energy behind them, to start identifying priorities for change. The votes ranked the themes as follows:

  1. Local Government and Public Transport
  2. Empty Buildings & the Built Environment
  3. Energy and Business

After that came; Nature, Provision for Young People, Waste & Resources, Parking / Private transport, Housing, Food, Leisure & Tourism and lastly Health.


If you wish to review the April event in full, the view the full notes here.

Outcomes – We Are Buxton

Following the BBC1, a ‘We Are Buxton’ forum was set up in conjunction with High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council, six key community groups, including Vision Buxton and two residents associations. A first meeting took place in September 2021.

Big Buxton Conversation Two

Residents and businesses were invited to take part in the Big Buxton Conversation Two (BBC2) on the afternoon of Monday 8 November 2021 at Buxton Methodist Church on the Market Place. Around 80 people attended.

The objective for the afternoon was to look at the twelve themes and associated ideas and ‘what if questions’ that emerged from BBC1 and look at how some might develop into projects, become incorporated into existing work and start to bring about the positive changes that our community wants and needs.

The most important, and clearly interconnected, themes for people in the room were Young People, Public Transport, Nature, and Health & Well-being. Six potential projects emerged for detailed discussions on the day with five further themes for consideration later.

A spokesperson for the organisers, Jean Ball from Transition Buxton said:

The passion that people have for our lovely town and surrounding landscape came through loud and clear.  The single loudest message to come from both these events so far is the value and importance of continuing to talk, ask questions, share ideas and working together for our shared benefit.  So, the Big Buxton Conversations look set to become annual or twice yearly events.  We need to endeavour to attract more and different people, of all ages, to take part in the Big Conversations and the projects and initiatives that come out of them.”

The event was hosted by the four largest member organisations in the town – Vision Buxton, Buxton Civic Association, Buxton Town Team and Transition Buxton – with thanks to the Transition Network UK, The National Lottery Community Fund and the National Lottery players.

Notes from the event can be downloaded here.

Discussion notes can be downloaded here.