UK General Election, May 2015
England is at its eccentric best on May Day, all the quirky ancient traditions such as ‘Pat-a-Lamb’ and the Cuckoo Fairs, Heritage Re-enactments and Morris Dance Parades emerge in colourful, frolicsome joy to prance gleefully about and remind us of our connection to the land, the woods, the trees, the fields. So it was perhaps no surprise that on a fleeting visit to @escapetocreate ‘s pad in Whitstable on May Day this year that we should succumb to her inherent creative promoter’s charm and take a walk along Whitstable Beach to the busy, bustling harbour. There we stumbled upon a procession of Morris Dancers parading along to Dead Mans Corner and delighting young and old with their sunny ‘merry olde England’ goodwill amidst the jingle of bells and the fiddling of fiddles. A large ivy clad tree ambled alongside fair maidens and a big brown bear dispensed hugs and photo opportunities.
Arriving by the decking stage at Dead Mans Corner I examined some of the beautiful clay pebbles made as part of a community project and housed in a barrier of Gabion cages – ‘Here Now’ read one. I certainly am, I thought.
Whitstable retains its old coastal town charm and character, clap-board cottages and the curvy Horsebridge Arts Centre mingle comfortably with Oyster bars, the Sailing Club, Cafe’s and the working fishing fleets to-ing and fro-ing in the Harbour. The Coffee stall exudes a siren song to passers-by, the heady mix of coffee and salty air, exhorting you to stop and buy ‘coffee with your ice-cream Sir? Madam?’. Queues for the Crab and Winkle meandered down the South Quay and the West Whelks Oyster stall was doing a roaring trade by the old smoke huts. Whitstable Harbour, remains relatively unscathed by the surge of concrete monstrosities that sprung up in all the wrong places throughout the sixties and seventies, which is another good reason to go there. We carried on up to the Castle where everyone was in party mode and then back along the beach and through the town, past all those little lanes and nooks and crannys that make the seafront so endearing. It was a wrench to go home!
It hasn’t been easy getting here and it’s getting harder to go on. You might read this and think ‘that’s the same for everyone at the moment, isn’t it?’ Well yes, but you can help us right now by voting for us with the Lloyds TSB Community Fund, if we are chosen (if enough people vote for us) we will win £5,000 which would be a considerable help in keeping us going this year.
If you are in the mood to do some good today then all you have to do is click on the link here https://www.lloydsbankinggroupcommunities.com/communityfund/cf_org_vote_profile.asp
and vote by registering your email (nothing shady here but they will send you an email to check that you’re real and ask you to verify by clicking the link within the email which takes you back to their community fund page and very nicely says thank you). It takes two minutes of your time – ‘one and a bit’ to vote and twenty seconds to verify and perhaps give us a shout to your friends and colleagues via the facebook or twitter link – the more the merrier!
OR YOU CAN TEXT ‘VOTE SP4’ to 61119 (normal text charge)
The ‘why bother?’ and the emotional stuff!
All we can say is we’re all very proud of what we do at the Unit, that’s why we’re still doing it, despite the challenges and despite the temptation to walk away and let it be someone else’s problem… you only have to look in the window of our tiny little shop on the corner of Endless Street. You might find Heather is running the young reviewers club, a gardening club, or the crafty clubs; tye-dye, bunting, yarn bombing (that’s knitting essentially) etc., or you might find Kevin and ‘Unit Records’ are helping to plan a gig or the Salisbury ‘Hip-Hop’ revolution or Tim is encouraging a group of young people to sketch ideas on the walls or Lucy is helping the team organise one of our pop-up café meets. You might find the Mayor or the community police have popped in or someone from the local theatre/festival/paper/arts centre is running a session or you might just find Keith or Fergie having a chat and doing a lot of listening, or Ruth pulling out another grey hair and laughing a lot as she types (or talks) furiously away. Never has one small corner shop seen so many different things happen and of course we do a lot of things beyond Endless Street – because that’s what the young people who steer our project want, a little bit of help to make something happen that isn’t – for someone to say, ‘Yes! Great idea I wonder what we’d need…?’
We’re not going to ‘knock’ the competition in our ‘community cluster’, we are all very worthy causes and although it’s a small pot of money we’d all make it stretch a long, long way but please do vote – preferably for The Unit ;0)
Philanthropic Millionaires apply here!
All of us at the Unit, from the young people who walk in the door to the rest of us who run to keep up – thank you very much!