40 years ago I was frankly terrified of the local librarian who seemed overly strict on small boys. I only wanted to read the books, not play football with them as I am sure she believed. But yesterday I gave her 6 tomato plants by way of appreciation of the help and support that she had provided to my mother-in-law, who frankly finds getting about rather difficult these days.
Everyone gained from the arrangement. My mother-in-law was able to attend an event that she would have otherwise struggled to get to. A retired librarian received an interesting collection of tomato plants, and I realised that some people are not always as fierce as they appear – although I am reserving judgement! What it reminds me of however is that for me ‘community’, and being part of my community provides a real sense of comfort and connection. I try to take this thought with me when I look at potential uStep solutions. Can we deliver support in a real community, or will it stand as a sham in isolation?
It is important to understand the potential of a site, but equally for me, it is important to know what the community feels like. I think we have being doing well in finding solutions that sit squarely in real communities, and the people we support will benefit, but ultimately it is what people make of it.
We have opened three fabulous new supports since I came to ubu in November, which has been a great thing to do, and some people will have heard me at Sovereign Mill talking about the day being a celebration, turning the page as Sovereign Mill stops being a project and becomes an opportunity for people to live a great life in a great place.
It was a really good day and loads of effort had been put into making it a great celebration. I loved it. I enjoyed telling people about the project, I enjoyed the real enthusiasm of the Lord Mayor of Leeds, and I enjoyed the madness of trying to get everything into the lift at the end of the day. They will not be my lasting memories however. That goes to two of the people that we support, and who were both missing when we had the closing speeches. They weren’t trying to avoid me however, they were deciding which flat they liked the best and where they would put their furniture. The project had been started because we thought Sovereign Mill would be a great place to live. The people that matter obviously think the same.