I am a Family Worker, a student, a Red Cross volunteer and all the other things that girls sometimes are!! I try to keep up with what’s going on in the world around me, and enjoy talking with people and finding out what they think of it all. I also like driving in my tiny car to see people, eating out at new places, finding new music to listen to, and playing on the beach.
I don’t think I have enough to write about Community to warrant a guest post but would like to share with you my thoughts!
I suppose having lived out in the middle of nowhere, with no neighbours, for the last 3 or 4 years, I’ve lost sight personally of “community”. I’ve never felt like I fitted in anywhere (in any sense) and so from a personal point of view would have little to say about Community.
Where I have, however, learnt about others’ communities was at work, through the Sure Start Children’s Centre. One day I got a surprise when working with a group of teenage mums, and we completed an adapted version of The Outcomes Star, in which we removed “Offending” and put “Community involvement” instead. All of the young women felt that they scored 1 or 2, so I discussed it with them, and far from being something they cared little about, it was something they really wanted to change about their lives. They suggested going into schools and sharing their experiences with young people to help them make more informed choices about their lives, and that is how the peer education got underway.
It surprised me because we talk of the ‘hard to reach‘, ‘lack of engagement‘, and Cameron’s ‘broken society‘ and so on- the women in that group weren’t hard to reach but simply had had no experience of, and consequently didn’t know how, to step out into their community and be part of it. It’s just not as common any more to stay in the place you were born or grew up and as such, some young people, I think (particularly from typically marginalised groups perhaps) find it difficult to establish themselves within “The Community”. I hope that by facilitating the young parents’ introduction into the “adult” world around them in this way, they cannot fail to realise how much they have to contribute to that world, that they will feel more of a part of the community and ensure that all the benefits of that continue through the generations.
I suppose recent events will have caused people to lose faith in community – who wouldn’t, when you realise you might not be able to trust your neighbour (your actual neighbour, not a metaphorical one!)? I don’t know if it is a politician’s role to build community – perhaps it’s something that cannot be forced. The problem is, we are paying for the behaviour of the destructive few – which is sad…but I just don’t have the answer. And apparently, neither does Cameron. I’d love to live in his alternative reality of privilege…a bubble.