Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The One with the Local Community

This afternoon I bundled the boy into his buggy, wrapped up warm against the chill in the foggy air and we went on a walk. My intention was to nip down to the little Tesco Xtra that has recently sprung up at the waterfront near us.

But as we set off I decided to turn left out of my door instead of right to the docks.

My mission was to check out the little library at the top of our road. I'm ashamed to say that I've lived here 13 years now and I've never been in.

It's taken the threat of closure to redress this oversight!

Small local libraries are all under threat as part of local government cut backs, and even without visiting ours I recently felt compelled to sign an online petition to save not only it but all local libraries in our county.

I may live in a town but this is predominantly a rural area and if, after my visit today, our little library is anything to go by, it can help to connect and unite a community.

While I was there I saw paintings from the primary school near by, there was an older gentleman, what I believe they call a silver surfer, using the Internet, a lady returning a pile of children's books and another taking books out. I checked out the times of a free sing along time for Mums and babies called "Baby Bounce" and picked up a leaflet on courses on writing and re-training for different careers.

There were all kinds of posters up about community events and classes too. With hindsight I could have taken a poster for my show up there. I could have done that for lots of previous shows if I'd ever been bothered to go up there before!

So after we left, we walked along and it occurred to me that when you work full time and you're racing around you don't always stop and see what's on your doorstep and connect with your local community.

Being a Mum and working part time makes you both want to find out what is on offer out there and affords you some time to find it.

So inspired by the library I shunned Tesco and got my groceries from the local Co-Op instead.

On my way back I noticed a bakery I've never been in before too. Next week I'll see what their bread is like and get it from there.

We get so reliant on the convienence of the supermarkets that sometimes it's good to stick it to the man and find something local and different.

In a week where not only local libraries and parks are threatened but local radio too then as a Mum I want to connect with my local shops, libraries, parks and general community.

I'd like to think that as he grows older the boy will have a local community to be proud of not just a Tesco's on every corner where a proper local corner shop used to be!

If your local library is threatened with closure go along and give it a visit. Sign a petition, write to your local paper, speak to your MP, put a poster in your window because it's not just about borrowing books it's a hub for people to meet, learn something new and find out about what's going on in your area.

After all where would we be without our local community? We'd have no sense of place and ourselves and I for one would miss that.

Just another, very surprising thing, motherhood has taught me!

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