Sunday, June 20, 2010

Community Spirit

This morning was a very special morning for the parishioners of St Mary & St Romuald in Yarm. For 150 years there has been a church on that site, a place for the Catholics of the area to gather in worship and community. Today the Bishop came to celebrate and Mass was followed by coffee and cake in the Parish Hall. People who don't usually linger stayed and chatted, news was exchanged, children played and the community celebrated - not with a bang but with friendship and sharing.
Outside Yarm Gala was getting underway - another and very different community celebration. The Yarm Charities Fair was a long standing event in Yarm but beginning to look a little tired. Yarm Regatta had disappeared from the calendar some years ago. Newly elected members of the Town council decided to do something about it and this is the result, now an established event drawing interest from round the town and from Eaglescliffe too. Some like to remind us that the Council is now mainly from one political party, but I think this event is less about political party than about being part of the community and prepared to show leadership - a character trait which is not the sole prerogative of any one group! This particular band of Conservatives deserve congratulations on the community leadership they've shown on this, and I for one hope that it's now sufficiently established to survive whatever changes the electorate visits on the Town Council next May.
It was good to see the Protect Preston Park group collecting yet more petition signatures and fund-raising with their tombola stall. I even won a prize! They've now collected over 6000 signatures from far and wide. I'm really looking forward to the announcement that building a school in the Park isn't an option so that the group can move forward with establishing protection for the Park in the long term. Grassroots politics is what keeps the world worth living in!!
It took a long time to walk home as I kept meeting people walking down to the gala who wanted to stop and tell me about issues or discuss the economy - not my usual Sunday morning fare but there we are, such is the new interest in things at the moment.
And the final bit of community spirit? This afternoon with staff from a care home, trying to decide on ways to keep their residents in touch with family and friends across the world. Could they set up a computer with Skype and someone to help? Could they establish some more links to the community outside the doors for those with no family or friends near by? One thing's for sure - it won't be for lack of thinking about it, and though there aren't any easy ways they'll keep trying.

No comments: