You should, if you do nothing else today, go and read this post by Puffles the Dragon Fairy on mental health.
Once you’ve done that, take a moment to be deeply angry at how the little things that make the difference in this scenario are apparently the first things to be cut when local authority money starts to get tight.
Ok? Done being angry? Make sure you’ve got it out of your system, because now I want you to take a deep cleansing breath and ask yourself what you’re going to do about it.
Yes, you. What are you, sitting there trying to pretend I’m generally addressing the whole readership – I can see you you know, don’t ask me how – going to do about it?
Somewhere local to me has just found that the youth club is cutting its hours from three nights to two. People are unhappy. The local authority isn’t thrilled, but the money just isn’t there. In my home town there’s next to nothing for teenagers to do, and the money has been spent on offerings that just don’t work. Nobody is happy about that, either.
Well, with all these unhappy people around, somebody should jolly well do something about it. Why not you?
You, the community. You, the parents association. You, the school governors. You, the rugby club. You with your venues and your volunteers and your members and your good ideas and your knowledge of what is needed to make a difference.
I’m pontificating about this because I’ve just started the project I was talking about a while ago. I want to connect people who want to get things done, with people who can help them. I know the ideas are out there, I know the enthusiasm and the skills exist, it’s just a question of getting the right information together to decide whether these ideas are viable, and iron out the wrinkles.
So when people are angry or upset about a lack in their community, and wishing they could make a change … here are the contacts. Here’s the information. Here are the people who can tell you whether or not you need planning permission, or training, or an events license. That’s right – the local authority, who can’t afford to do stuff any more but would be delighted to help you do stuff for yourselves.
If this inspires you to wonder what it might be within your power to achieve, here are some links to where Devon-based conversations are happening …
There are most likely many more – if I’ve missed anything relevant let me know and I’ll add the links here.