I’ve not long got back from stewarding a community event in Brookside, Telford called “Health & Harmony”.
I’m still none the wiser at where “Harmony” comes into it but the “Health” bit was covered off by the free fruit smoothies that were given out, the healthy eating advice and the demonstrations by Telford Thai Boxing club.
The event was organised by Brookside Improvement Group, which I’m a member of. As the officially recognised residents group for, it’s important to get feedback from as many residents as possible and this event was used as an opportunity to get some feedback from residents. There were some excellent suggestions such as a community garden and improving playgrounds. One of the best suggestions was simply putting a cigarette bin outside the shopping arcade so smokers have no excuse for dropping their cigarette butts on the floor outside – it’s cheap and has an immediate benefit.
Of particular benefit, I think, was getting feedback from the locals that congregate outside the shopping arcade drinking. They don’t look particularly nice and they discourage some people from using the shops but what most people don’t realise is that they clean up around the shops and see off the younger drinkers that cause trouble. Most of these people don’t have jobs and want something to do with their time – just like the local kids. They want organised activities, something to do during the day other than sitting around drinking.
Most people were critical of the estate and for the same reasons – it looks old and tired, there’s too much rubbish around – the same criticisms you’ll hear about any 40 year old housing estate. But most people also had something positive to say – the sense of community where they live, the greenery and one woman who had moved away for 15 years before coming back said “it felt like coming home”.
One of the main attractions was the Brookside’s Got Talent competition. Two of my kids (the youngest two) did a dance they learnt at Telford Academy of Performing Arts and came in second place. There was almost no talent contest after the person who promised to provide a karaoke machine let us down but luckily a local DJ stepped in at the last minute and gave a couple of hours of his time for the event.
Special thanks is also due to Tesco in Madeley and the Co-Op in Stirchley, both of which provided the ingredients for the smoothies and to the supermarket in Brookside that donated bottled water, tea, coffee, milk, sugar, squash and other essential supplies to the event.