Monday 20th April, 7-9pm, in the Cluny Square Cafe, could be a significant landmark as far as I am concerned. It could be the very last meeting of the Cluny Residents Association (CRA), which I happen to currently chair. I wrote about CRA in an earlier blog and remain of the view that what it has helped to achieve in terms of improving the local community is significant. But everything moves on and given the lack of support from local residents and active committee members, those of us who are part of the committee are of the view that we should stop, but work toward continuity.
It is true that activities people enjoy, e.g. fun days in the park, are well supported, but meetings to discuss matters of concern, finding consensus among local residents, and working toward satisfactory resolutions, along with the statutory agencies and other interested parties, have been poorly attended, at least by the residents, although the “professionals”, who tend to value this resident led sounding board, have been supportive and been able to respond in many significant ways as a result of our meeting together.
As I have reflected in some of my “community related” writings available on this website, the word “community” means different things to different people and the communities in which people get involved (or not) and the extent of their involvement will vary considerably. I am still of the view that the greatest service we can do is to be a good neighbour, and since we are talking here about local neighbourhoods that means those who live near to us. But making life better on a whole raft of issues e.g. policing, security, environment, amenities, housing, health, welfare, education, befriending is also important and it is my view that local community associations have an important part to play in ensuring this.
Reluctantly, I think the association that I chair may have had its day, but undoubtedly there is still work to be done, but how, what, when and by who? Part of the discussions that have been taking place, and contributions especially by local residents are still welcomed incidentally, is with our community movers and shakers, including our local supportive Councillors and stakeholders from the statutory and voluntary sector as to what needs to happen next. I do not wish to be prescriptive regarding the continuation and am happy to let others take a lead, but when it comes to empowering and improving my local neighbourhood, this remains very much my passion.
In my own neck of the woods, there is a lot going on and a great deal of community spirit being shown by several different groups and individuals, who don’t always talk to each other as much as they ought, but we need to encourage each other in our various activities that support our local community, for in unity there is strength and there will always be issues e.g. youth provision, health centres, services to help the more vulnerable, which spring to mind in our case, and to be there to support local residents with their various concerns, even if they don’t attend meetings I think are important.