Thursday, 4 February 2010

Bringing communities together

I'm really beginning to meet people now and so many are interested in my campaign; perhaps the time really is ripe for someone to stand apart from the point scoring of party politics, someone who knows the community and comes from the community and is prepared to work directly for the community instead of bowing to central government policy.

I know I won't be able to do everything I want to do; budgets are real, laws limit the actions of the council, and some people's needs can conflict with those of people elsewhere in the ward, or even just around the corner - but I am determined to work towards building our communities and making our ward a better place to live. I want to stand up for this community and be counted and I want my children to be proud of the community they have grown up in.

Today I spent time in several different parts of the ward, mostly delivering leaflets, and I was noticing how many homes have security gates and fences, there was one row, obviously all owned by the same landlord, that just made me think of a prison.
We should not need to be so frightened in our own homes that we feel we have to barricade ourselves in, yet it is the same all over the city.

How do we make our streets safer and our local areas feel more comfortable?
I don't think it's just about preventing crime and getting police and community officers out there, I think it is also about supporting and working with people to build communities where residents know and trust each other again.

In October I went to the Little London Lantern Festival and it was great to see how many people came out to join the procession.
It has been held for the last two years and this year was 10 times the size as last year.
This is one of the ways our schools support their communities and I'm hoping that the Head Teacher, Jill Wood, will continue to expand the festival and follow through her plan to involve more and more of the local schools. I would love to see processions through every part of the ward meeting on Woodhouse Moor, starting at the local schools and community centres with the steel pans from City of Leeds School and choirs and other musical groups from the primary schools. Perhaps the community choir working with Opera North at Little London and supported by pupils from City of Leeds School could be part of the festival too, bringing together young and old across Little London, Hyde Park and Woodhouse.

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