The Village view
People make a place, no matter how pleasant the surroundings.
So it has been uplifiting to see, first, the swell of support at a public meeting in March to highlight the plight of a crisis-hit youth and community project in Alvechurch, and then to find that had crystallised into people stepping forward to offer their help.
The Lounge, which took so much effort to get off the ground and which has proved such a success in its first aim of providing an outlet for young people, is facing an uncertain future.
The ripples spreading from reductions in public support across the land are now reaching and damaging such worthwhile organisations.
Nevertheless, these volunteers are giving their time and skills to try to find a way forward as The Lounge’s financial support is swept away.
We see the same commitment from volunteers across the Village area in so many different spheres, from the Lickey Hills Society, whose members strive to preserve the natural beauty of the area, to the Street Pastors of Bromsgrove, who stay up late at weekends to make sure revellers – some of them our young people – get home safely from the town’s pubs and clubs.
And then there are all the people who helped Alvechurch Football Club host its biggest crowd since the early 1970s and get its ground ready for potential promotion.
As we go to press, Alvechurch is gearing up for what is now the annual Picnic in the Park, while Blackwell’s summer festival is to be matched by a similar event in Lickey, and Barnt Green has just seen volunteers organise a Sport Relief fun run that brought the whole community together.
What is remarkable is that the people running such organisations and events continue to do so, often unaided by outside sources, while daily family life appears to be getting more hectic, with all hands to the pump to pay for sky-high property prices and rents.
So while there are some disappointments, such as the lack of support for a reignition of Alvechurch Alight! and the cancellation of the annual towpath bike ride to Worcester because some participants weren’t raising any money for charity, community spirit continues to thrive and enhance the lives of everyone in this area.
Let’s just hope no one dares to declare that this is “Big Society” in action.
This was an article published in "The Village". The Village is a very popular and highly regarded monthly magazine serving the thriving and beautiful north Worcestershire countryside between Bromsgrove, Birmingham, Solihull and Redditch. The online version can be found at: http://villageonline.co.uk/