They say it takes a village to raise a child. Chorlton councillor, Eve Holt, looks forward to the Age of the Neighbourhood.
I was raised in Chorlton and am bringing up my own kids here. I learnt to walk and ride my bike on our streets, and to swim at Chorlton Baths. I’ve played in our parks, made friends in our schools. and I hope to grow old at home, in my community.I’ve formed critical connections and trust with those who live and work here: my neighbours, family, friends, babysitters, teachers, carers, doctors, shopkeepers… These people inspired me to dream of a fairer, greener, safer world, and encouraged me to roll up my sleeves and be part of the change I want to see.
While there is a lot going on in the world which feels desperately hard, sad, frustrating and beyond our control, we mustn’t overlook the opportunities we have on our doorstep: to sow new seeds, water green shoots, and do all in our power to make Chorlton a better place to be for generations to come.
We can’t do this on our own: we can’t move forward and build back better together without a shared vision. All the consultations, surveys and discussion in recent years have shown me that:
Whether you experienced a pause, a quickening of pace, or a sharpening of pain, the shock, disruption and turbulence of Covid has made us all reflect on what really matters. The vast majority of us don’t want everything to return to how it was before.
Mutual aid groups formed across Chorlton: neighbours helping neighbours. People watched out for each other, mobilised and adapted.
Local businesses stepped up brilliantly too, working cooperatively with community groups, residents and services. Thousands of meals were cooked up each week and deliveries were made by foot, bike and van.
Strangers came together (virtually) with bursts of creativity: window galleries, murals, doorstep singing, music and dance, craftivism, yarn bombing, quilt-making, Chorlton High’s Beelong festival, chalking on streets, naming wild flowers. Messages of hope were spread far and wide. We appreciated nature and were more mindful of the ‘small things’
We celebrated the lungs of the city – our green spaces and our outdoor ‘living rooms’. We enjoyed cleaner air as more of us walked or cycled, while car use plummeted.
At the same time we feared Covid would take our breath away, the words “I can’t breathe,” stirred us. We read, listened, took the knee, beeped our horns and pledged to check our privilege and do the work needed to tackle racism. The impact of the virus really has highlighted the inequalities and injustices in our society.
We are all place shapers, makers, leaders and dreamers. I invite you to play a part in shaping the future of Chorlton. Here’s where we start:
We’ll get there.
This article originally appeared in the September-October 2020 edition of Open Up Chorlton magazine