How to celebrate your parish
Identify, recognise, reward, support, protect and enhance
The negative aspects of life often dominate the news and social media, and become the focus of debates in parish and town council meetings.
Of necessity, local council agendas are frequently occupied with problems such as the loss of local facilities, vandalism, litter, traffic issues, or calls for services councils are unable to provide.
But in every community there is goodwill and people of all ages who care for others and do acts of kindness.
Here are some ideas for identifying, supporting and celebrating all that is good in your parish.
It has been difficult for many of us to feel positive about ourselves, our families and our communities over the past year of Covid-related restrictions. Many parish and town councils have worked hard to provide support for community initiatives, and one positive outcome has been a greater awareness of the work of local councils.
Now, as restrictions are gradually lifted, we need a sense of wellbeing more than ever before. Against a backdrop of all that we have lost due to Covid-19, we need to value what we still have -and rebuild on those assets.
Against a backdrop of all that we have lost due to Covid-19, we need to value what we still have.
The building blocks of our community are varied. Essentially, they are those aspects of our lives that are always present and therefore known to be trustworthy, reliable and safe. They include family, friends, familiar buildings and landscapes, and trusted organisations. Rarely do parish and town councils come in to this category.
Quite correctly, local councils follow laid-down procedures and make decisions on the basis of their legal powers and duties; but the several laws that govern local councils - specifically the 1974 Local Government Act, and the 2011 Localism Act - can be seen as legislation that empowers councils, not limits their actions.
Celebrating the positives in your community helps address the negatives.
Focussing on the positive elements of your parish and community will help place the negatives in context, and can provide solutions:
- Refurbishing a neglected open space can reduce littering and flytipping.
- Young people involved in redesigning a run-down play area will be encouraged to look after it.
- Rewarding hard-working individuals and groups can encourage others to join them.
- Identifying local businesses and services keeps wealth within the local community.
- Community projects can motivate people who normally would not attend local council meetings.
- Local councils are more likely to be seen in a positive light as motivators and facilitators.
- Partnership projects - councils and community groups - can access different funding sources.
The achievements of local people, past and present.
Community events and traditions.
Buildings and places with a history and heritage.