RECENT DAYS have perhaps given the naysayers who warn you that community spirit is a ‘thing of the past’ some serious food for thought.
I often hear people lamenting that the so-called “old-fashioned” spirit of volunteers and residents coming together to benefit their wider community no longer exists in 2012.
That’s certainly not been my experience in recent days, however – far from it.
On Sunday, I went along to Warwick Road, Failsworth, on Sunday to help celebrate the official designation of this open space as a ‘Queen Elizabeth II Field’ following some close work between the local community and Oldham Council.
This scheme helps to protect important green spaces as a permanent legacy of the Diamond Jubilee.
It will not only preserve its use for leisure and recreation for future generations but will also empower community groups to get involved and apply for improvement funds. Given the enthusiasm of all those present, I have no doubts that this will be a successful venture.
On Monday night I also had the pleasure of attending the lighting of a Diamond Jubilee beacon – one of six across the Borough – at St John’s Church in Failsworth.
Again there was a fantastic turnout from the public and a really positive sense of society and co-operation on show.
This same ethos was also clearly in evidence at the Saddleworth and Lees Band Contests last Friday which passed largely without incident and were again a huge success that we can all be proud of.
Despite the rain the past few days have again shown that people will still ‘chip in’ and work together to ensure events proceed that can be enjoyed by all.
And whether you are a brass band lover or not, a Monarchist or a Republican, that has to be good news for all of us.
This shorter working week necessitates a shorter-than-usual blog, but I do want to close by highlighting the appointment of the Borough’s new Youth Mayor.
Josh Payne, 18, will officially take the reins after four years as a member of the fantastic Oldham Youth Council next Monday.
I know that he has already been involved in a whole range of community activities and voluntary work, and I am certain he will be a fantastic ambassador for the Borough in this role.
It is vital young people like Josh are given a voice – and that they are heard – so that they can help shape our area and improve it for future generations.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our departing Youth Mayor, Chantel Birwistle, from Chadderton, who has shone in her duties during the past civic year.
Each of us are defined by the communities we belong to and we should all exercise our gift to enhance them when we can.
Finding such fine volunteers amongst young people is just another reason to be optimistic.
People do still ‘love where they live’ and have great community spirit in 2012 – rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Thanks for listening,