Dave (the editor)
Our politics have always been about building for change from the grassroots by getting stuck in and supporting whatever projects are happening in our neighbourhoods that we see as having the potential to make a difference and to empower the people involved in them. That’s one of the reasons why we volunteer as gardeners at a community run park in our town in the east of Thurrock.
One of the reasons… The other is that we’ve lived in this town for a good few decades, have a strong connection to it and politics aside, we’ll happily roll up our sleeves to help out any project that will make it a better place to live in for everyone. So yes, we have a strong emotional connection to the community we live in…
After a week of total weirdness when it came to political activity, to get away from that, I went along to the park to get stuck into some gardening and catch up with the friends I’ve made there over the last few years. Friends who are quite comfortable about mildly taking the p**s out of each other while instinctively knowing where the line is:) Let’s just say, going there put a lot of things into perspective and reinforced why, if we want to bring about significant change, we have to start at the grassroots, in our neighbourhoods alongside people from our own class.
There’s no hierarchy with our gardening group – we collectively decide what needs doing over a cup of tea or coffee before we start and then get on with it. People slot into doing what they feel comfortable with, we help and support each other and after a few hours, stand back, look at what we’ve done and can see a real difference. Not just with the gardening group but also with the cafe and all the other groups who use the park, there’s a real sense of community, pulling together and looking out for each other:) It’s that sense of achievement and bonding that empowers people
I was chatting with one of my fellow gardeners today and she remarked there’s a growing trend of people pulling together on various neighbourhood and community projects. We agreed that it’s not just about making a physical difference – it’s also about making friends, supporting each other and building a sense of community.
To conclude, if we want to make the world a better place, this is where we have to start. In our neighbourhoods where we live. Not just for political reasons but because we genuinely care about the community we live in and want to do what we can to build a sense of solidarity and make it a better place to live in.