topcombo

In Full . . .

THE VILLAGE VIEW

Posted on March 31 2016 at 3:55:25

So, there will be no Alvechurch Alight festival this year, and perhaps never again, for the sake of a couple of thousand pounds.

Meanwhile, one of the most successful village community projects we have seen, The Lounge, is teetering on a precipice because all financial help has been withdrawn by Worcestershire and Bromsgrove councils.

How can this be? In the years that we have been publishing this magazine, we have watched “things” tending to get better, as they have done for the world, our country and our villages over the centuries.

What has gone so wrong that “things” are now getting worse?

In the early days of Alvechurch Alight, Bromsgrove District Council provided enough finances to allow the volunteer organisers to hire a community events company to guide them.

Twenty years later, the committee trying to revive the highly popular festival were unable to raise even the relatively small amount needed to buy materials for the lantern-making workshops in readiness for the spectacular night-time street procession.

The current generation of youngsters and their parents will never feel that binding sense of community spirit experienced when walking with fellow villagers through the streets where they live, lights dancing in the night sky above their heads. Ask anyone who remembers what it was like and they will tell you.

What is happening at The Lounge, in Alvechurch, is even more pressing: it is recognised by all as being of immense value to the community, from elderly people to young mums and, of course, to the young people for whom the project was set up six years ago.

The police say The Lounge is the single reason youth antisocial behaviour in Alvechurch has plummeted from being a major problem in their eyes to being almost non-existent.

We can only guess at the amount of money it is saving in police-hours alone.

Now it is facing a real existential threat because the county council can no longer afford to provide any finance: it had been hoped that the grant would only fall from £14,000 last year to £8,000 this year. Now the trustees have been told the contribution will be £0.

How heartening it was to see more than 50 people show their support at an emergency meeting and a number of those offer to step into the vacancies left by the untimely deaths of three trustees this year.

But £0 = No Lounge. So, again, how can this be? Why are “things” getting worse?

We must be getting over the financial crisis of 2008 because, as resigning Cabinet Ministers point out, the country can afford tax give-aways for the better off. Either the people controlling our money are very bad at it or they don’t care about us at all.

We suggest you ask your MP the next time you see him. After all, he’s now right in the thick of it.


Return to Front Page

Monthly Archive