Reflection on the New Cross Assembly Funding event

14 11 2012

EDIT – as usual i’ve succeeded in annoying the people i most need to thank,  so i just want to say that i was incredibly touched by the support and solidarity from some people who came to support my projects  (and even those that just supported me without even needing to know about the projects). This is the basis of the kind of community spirit i’m talking about and i would hate for criticisms of the system of funding and charitable structure to make those people think i was criticisng them. i think the projects were all worthwhile, but that there’s something else we need, i’m struggling t work out what it is exactly and how we do it, so please be gentle with me whilst i think aloud on a public blog.

Reflection on the New Cross Assembly Funding event OR 2 kinds of community spirit OR Dancing while Rome burns OR sour grapes 😉

Congratulations to those projects that were funded, some of them are very good, and show that community spirit, of a sort, is alive and well. however…

I can’t help reflecting on how unambitious the projects were in general. By unambitious i mean they didn’t really seek to change anything, in fact if you were being cynical (i try not to be) you might say they served more to distract us from what’s happening. They were great examples of a very specific, focused, professional and worthwhile kind of community spirit. But i feel that we need more than just this – we need a general, disobedient, self replicating, runaway, angry, boundless, pro active, demanding, cheeky, creative, barrier breaking kind of community spirit that can’t be expressed in a 12 week project or buying a piece of equipment.

while we all deserve the joy of films, dancing, theatre and the bonds that come from doing those things with other people those kind of projects need to be balanced with ones to work together to fund less ‘sexy’ stuff, get decent benefits, stop hospitals and fire stations being closed, be able to find and afford decent housing etc etc and what will get us those things, and much much more besides, is feeling that we have the support of people around us to get whatever we need as a community and organisations that embody and re-inforce that feeling. I really didnt feel much of that from any of the projects or organisations on show last night. Even the projects with which i was associated didn’t really say that either – perhaps we thought that such ambitious rhetoric wasn’t the way to get votes, which makes me very sad and a little angry..

But i think that kind community spirit does still exist – giving out flyers for the demo to save the New Cross Fire station and Lewisham hospital A&E i sensed a real steely determination that we must draw a line in the sand because, Other than the well off, People have never before in living memory had more need to really work and use every single tool and involve every single person in fighting for what they need and changing society to get it. Almost everyone i speak to in New Cross agrees that the government etc are taking things in the wrong direction at an ever increasing speed, so lets work together as a community, pool our resoucres and do something about it.

Because my projects failed to get funding i’ve got some spare time now, and i want to spend it forming a group in New Cross to embody the kind of community spirit that is demanding, active solidarity and willingness to fight – let me know if you want to be involved – james@dogmanet.org

James Holland

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2 responses

15 11 2012
Mrs Freda Johnson

I did feel disapointed as well for not winning a vote on our new project that Joy has started. We are a good organising group that do a great deal for the elderly with all our classes we put on. All the committe are volutary and unpaid.. Yet we found that some of the project people get paid.
There should be a different way for organisation to win funds. we have over 100 members and are a strong group and are in our 5th year, and have a good web site as well.
From Mrs Freda Johnson Joint Treasurer for (JOY) juster older youth.

15 11 2012
jamestholland

Yes, we shouldn’t be reduced to such a grubby cattle market competing with each other for a share of an ever shrinking pot of money – all the projects deserved real funding simply because they are doing important work. i think that maybe the way to get this is for us all to find a way to work together and demand resources and influence as a whole community, which can then be distributed to the groups getting on with the work, i’ve tried to persuade people of this but it seems many organisations are too busy and caught up in the charity rat race to think on this scale, but i fear that the longer we leave it the worse position we’ll all be in.

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