Nobody wants to see cuts to services we value, but I do believe the tough times can actually present us with new opportunities to bring us closer together as a community.
With the backdrop of a slow recovery from the 2008 recession and the promise of more cuts to public spending, it is easy to despair at the proposed loss of local services we have come to value and the lack of funding for expanding or new initiatives in our community.
I’m relatively young still at 28 and the society I have grown up in to my mind hasn’t changed much, although admittedly there have been many changes in my lifetime.
When I moved to Eastleigh I discovered a sense of community that I hadn’t seen in my home town growing up or anywhere else I have lived or visited.
What have we lost as a community?
However even here when I speak to people a generation or two older than me, I often find they lament how we have lost something as a community, the days when they knew everyone in the street and enjoyed neighbourhood get-togethers.
I’m not saying it’s all dead and gone, far from it, but according to some studies we are less likely overall to know our neighbours or have strong friendships than people anywhere else in the EU. Admittedly some of it is down to cultural differences but even so it is another study adding fuel to the discussion of a loneliness epidemic in today’s society.
So what do local government cuts and neighbourhood get-togethers have in common?
Let’s create a common cause to bring people together
Times may have changed but there is nothing like a common cause or vision to bring a community of people together. The gaps left by both government and local councils although not ideal, do present us with an opportunity to think about how we really want to shape our community for the future.
What do we value? What are we passionate about?
What I hope to achieve with this post
My hope in writing this post is that we could start a conversation, share ideas amongst neighbours, friends, and families about the community we live in, and discuss how we as a community can fill the gaps left by funding and service cuts.
Perhaps it could be as simple as a street fundraiser to keep a Dial-A-Ride service we value running. Or perhaps like-minded people could start discussing how to develop a new youth project.
It all starts with someone sharing an idea or passion they have. Will you be the one to start the conversation?
(Chandler’s Ford Today Note: Dan Brain is Eastleigh South Conservative Candidate. Dan is also Chairman of Eastleigh Basics Bank.)