Getting involved in the community
24th May 2012
I am chairman of our local village Diamond Jubilee committee which sounds like a pretty thankless task but it isn’t. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to be part of a wonderful community and to try and create something of a legacy for the village- something where those who come to our event can say ‘I was there’ in years to come.
We have been given £3,000 by our Lord of the Manor (yes we do have one) and that’s meant we can close the High Road for the day for our Big Picnic with town criers, bell ringing, maypole dancing and a whole load of free entertainment for every generation. What’s been great is to see how pivotal our local pub, The Crown, has been in the planning of the whole day. We hold our meetings in their pub (they attend them with everyone else), make a real contribution to the discussion and are now organising children’s activities in their garden and temporary marquee during the day. All free of charge. What’s also great is they know what’s going on (including all the local gossip) so they can gently suggest that we might want to change ‘this and that’ to ensure that our guests on the day are happy. They really do have their fingers on the pulse and are confidantes to many. It’s meant we have avoided some (maybe all) of the mistakes made by committees where loud voices can often drown out the contribution of the less vocal but equally important member. A word in someone’s ear from Sara, the licensee, has been a godsend.
The whole Diamond Jubilee event has been a great example to me of how pubs are central to their communities – of how they can pull the whole community together for the common good and of how they do put the needs of that community above and beyond their own. I know the involvement of Sean and Sara, the licensees, does have a commercial edge but it doesn’t seem that way – they are selfless and generous with their time and thoughts (and often their cider). Not enough pubs in my experience have grabbed this opportunity with both hands. Many have waited for the community to do something before they join in. Other pubs just don’t seem to see the benefits of participation. The more enlightened have led the charge and will reap the benefit. Local authorities in my experience are bending over backwards to support those who want to do something for the Diamond Jubilee. They are helpful with road closures, send out hints and tips and provide free bunting for those who apply.
Pubs should be at the forefront of working with their local authority and making things happen. I am not suggesting that pubs generously donate £3,000 like our Lord of the Manor, but I am suggesting they do something now, not three weeks before the event, to take the lead in their communities. Both parties will benefit enormously for years to come.