I suppose if I’m going to start writing about some of the things I’m involved and opinions about the things I come across while doing it with I should probably start by explained WHAT those things are. I’m going to start with my current favourite “real world” activity – That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the other things I do – it’s just the ethos behind this one is just fab – so here it is.
ACT – Ashmore Park Community Together.
Ashmore Park is the estate I live on within Wednesfield – it’s a lovely place on the Wolverhampton border with Walsall and South Staffordshire – it’s a little like that bar from the old TV programme cheers – everyone really does know you name – which to be honest was hell growing up – I could never get away with anything without my Mom finding out but it is also precisely the reason as an adult I chose to stay and raise my son there, Ashmore Park has always had a great community and many community groups, the TRA, the Police Liaison meetings (now PACT) but ACT is something else entirely!
ACT came to life because someone decided that there should be a celebration for the Queens Jubilee on Ashmore Park and someone should arrange something – it was then decided no one group should have to feel responsible for organising it – I’m not sure who’s idea it was but it was a good one – and so ACT was formed.
ACT is an amalgamation of all the groups in our community- there are representatives from the TRA, the LNP, the community association us from WV11.co.uk, the churches, the schools, local councillors and the residents. There is a de facto chair, Anne the manager of the community centre just to keep meetings on course and who lets us use the centre as a pick up/drop of point and for meetings – the CA also supply a treasurer and I act as a secretary come note taker mainly because a. I usually have a laptop with me and b. I’m used to typing notes while also taking part in conversations with my PACT live tweeting experience and that’s it as far a proper structure goes.
We all get together once a month on a date as mutually beneficial as we can make it to look at where we’re at and where we should go next. Jobs are shared out as people put themselves forwards for tasks based on their skills and availability to get things done before the next meeting.
So far this has worked really well – we’re only on our 3rd or 4th (who’s keeping count?) meeting and we’re already well on out way to having the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebration day sorted.
Amongst other things we have a community art competition already ongoing in schools – we’ve asked primary students to design a piece of work to represent the community and the winning piece will be made into a BIG canvas for the community to come and paint / colour / collage on the day. The top 3 designs (as judged by a community panel) and the finished community piece will be put on display in the Library.
One of the local schools, St Albans has said we can use their school field, all the churches are all coming together to offer and serve free refreshments. We’ve have donations from local residents and partners of things like Gazebos and tables and we’ve already started compiling a list of volunteers of people who have said they are interested in helping out. We have confirmed entertainment in the way of the Ashmore Park choir, a cheer-leading troop, fire engines and a marching band, There will be a fancy dress competition arranged by 2 residents and a 5 a side football match – arranged and supported by Ashmore Park Youth Centre – and hopefully Ashmore Park Rangers football team and we trying to arrange – fund fundraising dependant – to get a bouncy castle, bucking bronco and a laser quest free for community use at the event – we only need to secure £900 to be able to offer these for free – or £500 if we then let the them charge £1 a go!
The list goes on. The aim of the day really is to bring the community together in a fun and as far as possible FREE way.
It really is a community effort with so many people coming together to offer time and skills to making the day happen and it is a brilliant, brilliant thing to be a part of!