If you look up the word ‘community’ in the dictionary, you get a fairly long (and fairly uninspiring) list of things that may constitute a community. Near the bottom of the dictionary entry, however, one example always stands out to me: ‘‘joint ownership or liability’’.
I think this is an interesting aspect of community that is often forgotten about. Community isn’t just about living in the same place. It’s about recognising that we share the spaces and resources around us and have a responsibility to look out for one another. Our actions affect others, and when we work together to improve our local area, we all benefit.
Community is something that Tameside excels at. I’ve lived in Tameside my whole life and have served various parts of it as an elected representative since 1996. In that time, I’ve seen community spirit grow and grow, and reach new heights over the last few years as the pandemic altered our lives in unprecedented ways.
I’ve been inspired by how the local community have responded to the cost of living crisis we currently face. Food banks like St Mary’s Haughton Green and Tameside East in Dukinfield continue to do exceptional work, and charities like The Bread and Butter Thing are growing from strength to strength.
We’ve also seen the advent of various park ‘Friends’ groups and community centres like the Together Centre in Dukinfield and Ryecroft Hall Community Association. In Dane Bank, the local community stepped up and came together earlier this year to keep the Denton West Community Centre open.
None of these local initiatives can function without people. Volunteers often do vital work with little to no recognition, so it’s important to occasionally stop and thank those who donate their time to community groups, as well as things like Scouts, Guides, sports clubs and much more. These individuals are the beating heart of the local area, and without them Tameside wouldn’t be the vibrant, caring and proactive community it is today.
So, as we approach the summer, and the various community initiatives that will come alongside it, take a moment to appreciate the volunteers’ making things tick.
Even better, if you find yourself with some free time, get involved with something local. It’s a great way to meet friends, neighbours, and connect with the community here in Tameside.