For the past few months I have been getting out and about and meeting local people. I am working on an idea that Teesside and the surrounding areas can change for the better if people come together to be the change they wish to see. Many of us complain about what is wrong with Teesside but few of us do much about changing things. I want to change that and wondered if I could share with you a story about one of the groups I am working with in the hope that they might inspire you. They are the “Friends of Trinity Green”.
I met a lady called Fiona a few months back; she told me how her local area was being plagued by alcoholics and how their local green space, Trinity Green in Stockton Town Centre, had become a no-go area because of this. She wanted someone to do something about it. I asked her whether she had thought about doing something herself. She hadn’t but was very keen to. I suggested holding a meeting for others who may be interested in changing things. Fiona loved the idea and went off and leafleted her street, inviting people to a meeting to discuss Trinity Green. On March 31st about 10 ladies turned up. Initially the group had a lot of negative things to share, they needed time to air how hard things had been, why they were angry and what was going on; eventually though they began to talk about what could be done. Ideas like speaking to the police about better patrols of the area, developing community gardening projects, organising community fun days, maybe even seeing Trinity church used for arts and cultural activities throughout the year and not just at SIRF.
Now four months on, this small gathering of local residents are on their way to becoming a constituted community group. A wonderful lady called Dot has been put forward to be the chair and working together with the local council, things are beginning to change. Drinking in the green has significantly reduced and people are feeling safe again. The next step is to see community and cultural activities happening, so on this Sunday, the 17th August at 12.30pm, the group is going to have a picnic in the Green with their families. They are hoping others will turn up and use this beautiful green space too, either on this day or on other days and are now talking to the council about other cultural ideas for the space. All of this has been achieved in just four months. Isn’t that amazing? I wonder what issues you might be facing in your community, why not organise a meeting with people from your street and talk about what you might do together to change things? If you want some help or to just have a chat, why not drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or even contact your local council or residents group who are always happy to help and advise.
Remember if you want things to change, maybe you can be the change!