Bill Blackamore guest column: Bulwell has great potential if community works together

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I am proud of where I live and my home town has a very long history. I also think that it has tremendous potential to be even better than it is now.

Bulwell developed over many 100’s of years on the backs of some known but the majority unknown community activists who had a vision for the town and its future.

To realise some of this potential we need more local residents to get actively involved in community life and share their talents make a difference.

We now have a number of community and residents groups operating across our community seeking to improve the quality of life for all residents but the activists are few in number with the majority of residents being passive or disinterested.

If we could mobilise more support from the silent majority then in these times of growing austerity we could

In the last 10 years we have seen and benefitted from inward investment by the City Council, charitable trusts and business. More development than in the previous 50 years and we now have a new one-stop shop bringing providing health services, housing services, library, children and young people’s centre.

We are justifiably proud of our Academy which provides a 21st century education and meets the educational needs of our future residents so that they might aspire to make a difference in our own community and further afield. Also proud of our 4 Children’s Centres which are open to all parents, carers and children and majority of the services are free. Parents can get help and advice on child and family health, parenting, money, training and employment.

Likewise we have an excellent travel hub with train station, tram stop and bus station all in close proximity to our beautiful River Leen.

Bulwell as a long history dating back to 88AD so present residents of Bulwell are following in the footsteps of a myriad of artisans and craftsmen who have gone before and each made a contribution to the development of our beautiful town with its own river and we want this to continue. Are you willing to make your contribution?

In my lifetime I can just recall the 2nd World War and the hardships that residents had to put up within every area of their life, rationing of food and clothing, outside toilets, overcrowding and cramped living conditions and much more, but what I recall is the positive spirit and mutual support for each other. People had very little but they shared what little that they had with each other.

So I grew up in a strong and supportive community where everyone was welcomed and valued.

One of the songs I recall was entitled “I want to be happy but I can’t be happy till I’ve made you happy too” and I do think that neighbours went out of their way to make children and each other happy. I have very fond memories of a very happy childhood but with few possessions, little money but lots of friends and great neighbours.

I recall friends and neighbours had high expectations that life would get better and it did but it was a slow process.Despite people’s hopes and expectations that life would return to normal after the war, this was not the case.

The rationing introduced during the war continued and it was finally ended on July 4th 1954.

In 1957, the year I left school our Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, told us that “most of our people have never had it so good” and that was true. Quality of life did improve, education, work and health improved people were liberated but not necessarily happier. From then on most people became acquisitive wanting more of everything bigger cars, bigger houses.

More recently we have seen that affluence can create its own problems debt, family breakdown, over indulgence, antisocial behaviour and the cult of me. Many people no longer have a sense of community or a sense of family and responsibilities and obligations to/for each other. Should we be surprised, no?

We live in a post-affluent society. Can we make it better; yes we can if we remember that people matter more than things. “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world” I believe that, do you?