Friday, 2 January 2015

Ask not what Bermondsey can do for you - ask what you can do for Bermondsey (in 2015)

‘Set a goal today, right now.  What will you do today that will make you proud in a year?’  So says Tooley Street based Hot Bikram Yoga.

But, you don’t need to strip down to your Jockey branded underpants and contort your body into unimaginable positions in a room filled with so much steam that you can’t see beyond the nose at the end of your face to be proud of yourself (although it sounds like fun trying!).  There are other ways to feel that warm satisfied glow inside.

Getting involved in our local community is one of the most  rewarding things that we can ever do – and together Bermondsey and Rotherhithe offer a million different ways of getting stuck in during 2015. It's a central tenet of our 21st century blame-culture that everything that needs fixing is somebody else’s responsibility; we in Bermondsey know that this is absolute nonsense.  Although derided by many, the Big Society was essentially the embodiment of working class Bermondsey truths and values: we are all responsible for ourselves, our neighbourhood and each other.

This new year, it’s time that we stopped looking to politicians and institutions to solve our collective problems, and started doing something about them ourselves.  We have the power to transform Bermondsey – not Southwark Council, not the Coalition government or the Labour opposition - us.  Here are some ways of doing our bit and taking responsibility for creating a better Bermondsey and Rotherhithe in 2015:

  • Invest in our young people by supporting and volunteering at one of our many youth centres
  • Give an hour each week to listen to children read at a local primary school

  • Join or set up a neighbourhood watch scheme to tackle crime in your immediate area; call the police when we witness or suspect a crime
  • Support the Bermondsey homeless by helping out at or donating clothes and food to the Robes Project or the Manna Centre
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  • Raise money for the Age UK healthy living centre on Southwark Park Road
  • Clean up Bermondsey Beach, the surrounding foreshore and the river with charity Thames 21
  • Support local shops, markets and businesses, buying British and Bermondsey wherever possible

  • Report flytipping whenever you see it, and pick up litter outside our homes, shops and offices - Southwark Council cannot do it all

  • Get actively involved with the local community: join the local Tenants and Residents Association (Dickens TRA is  brilliant example of how to do it); attend the quarterly Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Community Council meetings and find out what’s going on in the area - make new friends!

  • Use some good old-fashioned Bermondsey manners (please, thank you, excuse me), especially with neighbours and those we don’t know so well.

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Politicians and Southwark Council can’t do it alone.  As former US President John F. Kennedy knew only too well: Bermondsey people have the power to transform Bermondsey.  By getting involved in 2015, we will improve the lives of familes, friends and neighbours.  So, what are you reading this for?  Get on with it!  Bermondsey needs you!

A very Happy New Year to you all! 
image copyright The Shard, Bermondsey, London
Primary Schools
Older People