I've recently been able to expand the website and include lots of the ideas that I've had to put on a back burner as we were limited to only six pages. We now have a section for local entrepreneurs - free for anyone living on Oakdale - to highlight their skills and business. Get in touch if you want to add something about yours.
I've been able to add project proposals as the update meant I could put files on for people to download. These include schemes to look after the environment, provide locally grown food through neighbourhood growing schemes and to help pollinators such as butterflies and bees through careful management of the meadow lands, creating a green corridor that links west to east Lydney, from the cemetery right through to the Land East of Lydney development currently in planning (Hitchins' application).
I would like to have somewhere to raise seedlings and children - a centre for community and a children's gardening/ wildlife club and a cafe to meet in. I've asked Bromford Homes if they will consider purchasing the sales office and putting a large conservatory on the side to do this. I asked the Health and Wellbeing Board to help us gain a community centre. We've campaigned for the bus to get going. (Wait three years for a bus and then three might come along all at once, perhaps.)
We've spoken up for those who choose to live without cars here and those who want to walk and cycle in safety.
We regularly give lifts to children who want to attend the Lydney Parish youth group, Vibe, and before the planners insisted on putting all the play equipment on the space, we went out and played football with our son and others, building community and having fun at the same time.
We feel more connected to the rest of the community as a result of running the Community Day and surviving the Great Storm. We are putting in grant applications to carry on with all of this and drawing up plans for the Community Orchard near the Boating Lake.
We have reassured people who have had negative experiences here and pointed them in the right direction for the most effective sources of help. We have talked to developers, councils, the NHS, project managers like Kate Newell, the Wildlife Trust, Asda, Kier, Bromford...we've done a lot of talking and walking around the site and have a standard tour for visitors now!
Anyone who wants to can come and get involved. Anyone who has five minutes spare can help by filling out the CONNECT survey. Then we are much stronger and more able to put together a good case for grants. I don't know about you, but I want people to be queuing up to come and live here, not on a waiting list to move out. I want to live in a stable, happy community that looks outwards to encourage other new developments across the county and country.
I was very pleased to read the introduction of 'The Abundant Community' then, where they describe the elements of satisfaction that grow out of such a community. It resonates clearly with all those ideas, that are now able to form out of the star dust that creates people, communities and ecosystems. Now is the time to start putting ideas into action. CONNECT
"Our neighborhoods are the primary source of our Health." How long we live and how often we are sick are determined by our personal behaviors, our social relationships, our physical environment, and our income....medical care accounts for a small proportion of what allows us to be healthy.
Whether we are Safe and Secure in our neighborhood is largely within our domain. Many studies show that there are two major determinants of our local safety. One is how many neighbors we know by name. The other is how often we are present and associated in public - outside our houses. Police activity is a minor protection compared to these two community actions....
The future of our earth - the Environment - is a major local responsibility. The energy problem is our local domain because how we transport ourselves, how we heat and light our homes, and how much waste we create are major factors in saving our earth....
In our neighbourhoods and villages, we have the power to build a resilient Economy - one less dependent on the megasystems of finance and production that have proved to be so unreliable. Most enterprise begins locally....As families and neighbors, we have the local power to nurture and support these businesses so that they have a viable market.
We are coming to see that we have a profound local responsibility for the Food we eat.
Real health care reform is in our hands, not just in the hands of legislators and industries.
We are local people who must raise our Children. We all say that it takes a village to raise a child. And yet, in modernized societies, this is rarely true. Instead, we pay systems to raise our children. Our villages have become useless - our neighbors responsible for neither their children nor ours. As a result, everywhere we talk about the local 'youth problem'. There is no 'youth problem". There is a neighborhood problem: adults who have forgone their responsibility and capacity to join their neighbors in sharing the wealth of children. It is our greatest challenge and our most hopeful possibility.
Locally, we are the site of Care. Our institutions can only offer service - not care - for care is the freely given commitment from the heart of one to another."
The Abundant Community - Awakening the Power of Families and Neighbourhoods by John McKnight and Peter Block, Berret-Koehler Pubishers, Inc. San Francisco, 2010 ISBN 978-1-60994-081-2