EDITOR – Re your front page article entitled ‘Is patriotism a thing of the past?’ and the comments by Rasenite, Amber Shepherd: “Why is it that Market Rasen yet again fails to show any sign of community spirit” and “I am sure that any event organised would have been popular and good for the town.”
Firstly, I must say I fully agree with the sentiments expressed. I too would have liked to see more street parties, but having just stepped down as both town councillor and Mayor due to the virtually full-time commitment, did not have the time to organise such an event.
Street parties, by nature and definition, are organised by residents of a street and, as can be seen from the Mail’s photographs and articles, street parties were indeed organised by various residents.
Did your correspondent have any involvement in trying to organise such an event or did she, like most others, expect someone else to do it? Or did she expect ‘the town’ to do it? – whoever ‘the town’ is.
By ‘the town’ people often mean the volunteers who make up the town council and who already give inordinate amounts of time (as well as their own money, as no expenses are claimed) for the benefit of Market Rasen.
If the expectation was that the town council should be the organiser it is clear there is considerable cost in organising a town-sized event, both in volunteers’ time and in money, and it must be borne in mind that it is taxpayers’ money, including that of residents both in favour and against having taxpayer-funded parties.
The town council does not have spare money and, as most councillors are already working many extra unpaid hours, little spare time either, particularly whilst there is a shortage of council members – volunteers for co-option are urgently required by the town council.
I can tell you from first-hand experience that your councillors have little enough time to do what must be done, never mind what would be desirable.
West Lindsey District Council’s much-trumpeted ‘achievement’ of having no council tax increase this year was only achieved by them getting a 2.5 per cent (£14 million) subsidy from the Government, although it was called a reward for not having an increase of more than 2.5 per cent, rather than a subsidy – I am note sure of the difference.
Needless to say, no such subsidy was given to local councils, such as Market Rasen, to achieve our ‘no increase’ status, so money stays tight.
As already mentioned I fully agree with Amber Shepherd’s comments re the lack of community spirit.
During my three years as councillor and latterly mayor I have worked hard to involve residents in improving their own town – the measure of interest can be seen by the fact that the total number of non-councillor volunteers to assist myself and a small number of dedicated councillors in our monthly town clean-ups can be counted on two hands, with fingers to spare.
Whilst a councillor and mayor I have often been told that we should do this or they should do that. I am not sure who ‘we’ and ‘they’ are, maybe the residents of Market Rasen, including the complainants.
It does seem rather unfair to criticise others for failure to do what we are not prepared to do ourselves.