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The Return of Civic Pride

Updated: Jul 8, 2022

It is our vision to instil a strong sense of civic pride and make our city the best place to live in, because the people in the city are the best people to live with. And central to civic pride is taking responsibility for the world around us.

There are already pockets of civic-minded people and organisations that do lead the way in helping and supporting people, however, civic pride is about the almost 200,000 citizens of Southend putting themselves forward too.

We all complain about the litter but what are we personally doing about it? Just because we pay our taxes and people are employed to pick up the litter, does it mean we shouldn’t do it ourselves when we see it?

And when a child is struggling at maths because class sizes are too big, does it mean we should just leave that child to endure their confusion? Or is there someone in Southend willing to give up an hour to provide one-to-one personal tutoring?

Homelessness, particularly on the Southend High Street, has been a serious issue. How many of us are willing to lend a room, food and an opportunity to turn their lives around?

How many retired people who have so much more to give, would willingly give up an afternoon to mentor a young person in need of guidance?

How many parents with children who have flown the nest would love to look after the young children of young parents who have no time to themselves?

Policing is an issue that always comes up on the doorstep, yet I have no doubt there are at least 1,000 people in our city that would be more than willing to commit a small amount of time to join the different volunteering police units that are already in place. This is just a matter of re-igniting the schemes to people.

The ambience of our city bleeds into our consciousness. And when we see roads, pathways, shelters, benches, graffiti, potholes, abandoned vehicles, dog fouling, full dog waste bins, overhanging trees, filthy public toilets and street lighting defects that are in need of attention, do we walk on by? Or do we take the initiative and report it to the Council to rectify.

Southend Council have a comprehensive reporting system on their website: I do not know the speed at which issues are addressed, however, if we all took a few minutes to report the issues that surround us, then at least we have done our part.

I am not the perfect citizen and if people are anything like me I very much doubt very many people do any of the above. There is always someone else to take care of it, and if not, we will just walk over, under or around it! And then complain!

I am not filled with a sense of civic pride, but nor am I expected to. We need to raise the expectations of our citizens to feel like they want to contribute to society. This can only come from the top, which is why it is vital to have the leader of the City of Southend-on-Sea Council speak out and talk up how important civic pride is.

We can lambast the astonishing lack of funding that we receive for our public services, but that should not prevent us from reaching into our souls and finding recipients for our kindness, generosity, skills, knowledge and experience.

The few that do everything and more are the ones whose stories need to be heard to inspire the rest of us. We need to celebrate those people in every way we can – though no doubt they would not wish for it! Our teacher and community group leaders need to be at the forefront of civic pride for the younger members of Southend. We need to put the current volunteering organisations in the spotlight where they can pro-actively shout to the city what they do and who they need.

If it is agreed that bringing back civic pride is what we want, Confelicity will drive this forward with the will and drive to make it happen. And we could all measure our progress by how much we feel we are indeed the best people to live with.

If we don't do anything rest assured that we will be waiting a very long time before national governments will come forward to rescue the situation. We can do it. it is just up to us whether we want to live in a city that we care about or not.

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