Stories And Sardines: Harnessing Community Creativity


Inspired by the legend of ‘Lefi Ganderson’, the people of Seething in Surbiton have been working together to develop a stronger sense of community since 2009. They believe in being creative, coming together, and using community energy. Through a number of unusual and inspired activities - including masked processions, ‘bread’ golf tournaments and freshwater sardine festivals – State of Seething promote a philosophy which says everyone can be brilliant, that communities are brimming with natural talent, and that this can be celebrated through stories and play.


As part of the State of Seething project, The Community Brain run three major projects:

  • The Museum of Futures - an exciting community space to encourage people to realise their dreams
  • The Community Kitchen - which harnesses and celebrates culinary creativity in the community, and supports emerging local businesses to make, bake and cater in the area
  • The new Suburban Farming Project called SHEDx – Growing Ideas– which teaches food growing, and how to build productive, sustainable sources of locally produced food.


The State of Seething is open to everyone to join in, whenever and wherever they like, and around 10,000 people participate each year. It involves no formal joining or membership, and is not about clubs or cliques.


State of Seething recently won the national Britain Has Spirit Award, and has grown rapidly in the eight years since it began. The Suburban Farming initiative alone, raised £17,565 online. Through the Museum of Futures, The Community Kitchen, Surbiton Food Festival and other initiatives, The Community Brain has supported over 50 start up local businesses. Its annual community survey shows it has a positive impact on people’s attitudes to the local area, their ability to influence and change it and their sense of belonging.

More information

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