Posts filed under ‘Pilgrimage’

Pilgrimage 2009: Monday 16 March

Today was spent in Braunstone.  10 years ago this estate had a reputation as one of the most troubled and uncomfortable places in Leicester.  Since the New Deal for Communities Programme, the estate has gradually been transformed under the leadership of local residents.  The Braunstone Community Association (Chaired for several years by the Archdeacon of Leicester) has brought many new initiatives to the estate and the process of transformation continues.  Wherever I went people spoke of new hope, new expectations and a new sense of civic pride.  In the morning I joined a community group making their way through the Highway Spinney collecting litter.  Gradually this small woodland area has been cleared of the debris of washing machines and sofas and is now largely free of litter as well.  It has become a safe place to walk through and the wildlife is coming back.  As we picked up litter we fell into conversation with residents walking through the Spinney who were delighted to see the way their neighbourhood was changing.  At lunchtime I judged a competition from primary school children of posters campaigning for keeping the estate clean.  The children had clearly got the message and had produced some colourful lively artwork.  Finally, in the afternoon, I visited “Braunstone Working” – a neighbourhood advice centre on employment.  We talked with several local residents who were out of work and who had found the advice centre a place of support, training, advice and confidence building.  Many of the staff came from the Braunstone Estate, knew the community well, and were passionately committed to helping people through the challenge of unemployment.  It was a first-class example of local people taking responsibility for transforming their own community.  A happy and encouraging day.

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March 17, 2009 at 9:25 am Leave a comment


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