Some will know that one of my community involvements is with my local Cluny Residents Association (CRA), which along with others I helped set up over eight years ago.
We will be holding our AGM this coming Monday (18/05): 7pm in the community café situated in the middle of the parade of shops in Cluny Square. Firstly, I should say, any who are residents in the area or have a particular interest, are welcome to come along and make a contribution. There will be light snacks and refreshments.
This meeting is particularly poignant since it could be our last. The reason is that there are currently two elected committee members (me, the Chair, and the Treasurer) and we have both decided to stand down, without any having come forward to replace us. All this is sad of course but life is short and there comes a point when it can appear to be like flogging a dead horse (too few residents attending / involved and us doing the lion’s share of the work). While it is easy to cite apathy as the reason for this lack of resident engagement, but for many attending meetings is not their cup of tea, and as some have said, they do care and also value what we do.
All this sounds brutal but while that was the impact that was intended the picture of a failed association is far from correct. When we began, one of the big issues was community safety (Cluny Square had a reputation as a hot spot for anti-social behavior) and community involvement. We have seen great strides in making our community safer and many things that have benefited local residents. We have seen several examples of community involvement (the events we have regularly put on and supported have been well supported), yet we are close to calling it day …
Unless members of the community wish to take on the association and move it forward! The infra-structure is all there and there is still money in the bank (thanks largely to South Essex Homes, who have supported us throughout). So I am not prescriptive on what happens and I don’t intend to pre-empt what our partners think and, more importantly, what our residents think, I don’t wish to speculate on what the AGM outcome will be. Besides being a useful device for SEH to engage with the communities, CRA has also been useful as a conduit for engaging with our councilors on community matters (who have responded superbly) and with other professionals. It could be said, we do provide impact and punch above our weight!
But as they say, life goes on and this come what may. There is always scope for improving our communities, starting from being literally merely a good neighbor. Whether CRA continues after Monday remains to be seen, but the needs and opportunities in the community it serves remain and I hope will be addressed by whatever is out there (and lots of good things are going on) to take on the good work that CRA has helped to initiate in the past.