"Is it me, or is it really hard to motivate people in January?" I asked a friend on Sunday. There were a few gloomy nods from those actively involved in engaging people, which was encouraging (looking on the bright side, it's not just me). I have resorted to bribing the Oakdale Links committee with cake to persuade them to come to our next meeting. It usually works. It's on Sunday 2nd February if anyone else is interested or just likes cake.
Today, however, I was in the company of FoDDC Community Engagement Manager Tess Tremlett and some very bright sparks from around the County, kindly hosted by a community project in Matson in Gloucester with the pinkest and most beautiful ladies loos I have ever seen, with bespoke murals on the walls. It's the little things that make you feel appreciated. I talked with them about Oakdale and life on a new development and suggested that it would be very useful to have a Community Builders Kit to put together all the hard-won information, plus the infrastructure that we need to do it. It's all very well meeting in my kitchen, but there are only so many people you can fit around our table. (I invited them all for tea, by the way Gary.) I would love to be inviting Matson to consult on interior design at our own community centre one day, though I know there are plenty of creative colour experts here on Oakdale. Maybe they would just come for tea.
Where was I? Oh yes. Little things and the way that paying attention to detail can make all the difference to the way you feel. For instance, getting fish and chips tonight because I got back late (and hungry, having resisted the biscuits) made me feel slightly guilty, but with a happily full tummy. And I appreciated the irony of going to talk to lots of experts in Health and Wellbeing then coming back to Lydney and raiding Roddy's.
Little things like not having a barricade across the road and not having to walk past a derelict hut will hopefully re-invigorate the community. Imagine what it's like for the children especially when they return home and bring back friends to Oakdale and have had to put up with the state of the road, the footpath and everything else. It's the broken windows effect in action. Over the time we have been here, litter has gradually increased along the access road and footpath as people have stopped caring. It's very good to see things happening at last here and I'm too full of fish and chips to point out that they could have been sorted out right at the beginning. Well done, MMC, for getting there at last - and thanks from the Oakdale Community.