So many people wouldn’t believe me if I said that it was strange being back in the UK. I was born here, but I left at the age of 19. All my “adult” years, those “formative” years were in France. I know that sometimes my way of thinking is French.
Recently though, I began to realise that despite all those years in France, I am still so very British. There’s a twitter feed called @SoVeryBritish which is a humourous look on how we see life as the British. I admit it: I can identify with so many of the tweets.
I moved to Openshaw, an area of Manchester, in May. I wanted to become involved in the community and began contacting the Regeneration Team and the local police team to find out what was happening in the area.
The Regeneration Team invited me to council meetings with other residents, and also introduced me to councillors. From there, I discovered one of the residents was a long time friend of my neighbour.
The local police team have been great in explaining how policing in the neighbourhood works and even introduced me to a local resident who was in the process of setting up a community group.
I have come to realise that this is what I like. Meeting people, talking about projects, working together to find solutions.
In my previous role as account manager, it was the relationship building that I enjoyed. I loved to find solutions to problems and convince people (ie development) to do things that the customer wanted.
What makes a big difference is that in the UK, everyone is so much more accessible. In such a short space of time, I have met so many “institutions” that I never managed to do in France.How many times did I try to contact and meet our local councillor and our MP ? I wasn’t important enough for them.
Next steps are meeting more people. Next Sunday there is a day of gardening in Openshaw, where Grow in the City are going to be preparing a vegetable garden to help people grow their own food.
Mid November there is a local clean up in the area and in December preparations for Christmas.
My day job isn’t so inspiring, so by taking part in community events I can still find the satisfaction of helping others.
Watch this space…….