Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Gathering Protest

By Belinda 

"Belinda," Rob said, when we spoke by phone yesterday, "They must be putting in new carpeting in the community hall, and on Friday--you won't believe it--but workmen left a big roll of industrial carpeting outside the hall--about a thousand pounds worth, as well as two large tubs of adhesive and it's still just lying there outside."

England is in the grip of such deep cold and snow that Mum's carers didn't even make it out to her last night. The adhesive, which probably costs 50 pounds a tub, is likely frozen now and unusable, as well as the carpeting being left outside covered only by plastic sheeting.

Today I had reason to call Rob again and he continued with more news. Word has gone around the close about the parking issue and there is widespread concern about the planned change to the signs.

I respected Rob's decision that I had done all he wanted me to, and let it go, but he said today, "You've started the ball rolling with your emails and it's for us to take it up."

One of the women is putting together a petition and a letter of protest. Some people who have lived there longer than Rob and Mum, remember when the community of sheltered housing was owned by the local council. When the local housing trust took over from the council in 2000, a letter was sent to all of the residents explaining the changeover, with an assurance that nothing would change. One of Rob's neighbours still has her letter. Someone else has a letter referring to the fact that the parking is for the residents and their visitors.

Rob said that when the housing trust gets the letter and petition, a letter will be sent back to each resident of the close acknowledging it and a meeting will have to be arranged to hear their concerns.  

"And of course, there are the white stones, now invisible and dangerous in the snow, and a thousand pounds worth of carpet left out for the weekend," he said.

A voice is rising in the close and together this group of older and disabled people are taking on a system that seems to have lost its senses. 

Something heartening is afoot in Alvechurch! Come to think of it, some of these people, were, like me, young in the 1960's--the era of protest movements! Who knows what will happen next. :)


Susan said...

Before you know it, BBC will pick up on this and there'll be a new TV series called "Alvechurch Chronicles". But they'll have to pay you for the title at least. And maybe even make you "Creative Director"! :)

I am rooting for a little sense and sensibility to take hold in that little close and turn this whole thing around the way it should have been going all along! Bully for the Close-dwellers! Unite! :)

Marilyn said...

I like Susan's vision for this whole thing, having just finished watching the first season of "Downton Abbey" and the "Land Girls" episodes. My appetite for all stories British is in high gear. I can tell I'm hooked on the Alvechurch Chronicles by my reaction to the mere thought of those white stones under snow, just waiting to trip someone!

Belinda said...

Oh Marilyn, Paul and I have just finished Downton Abbey, series one, and are about to start series two. Series three will be on order asap! Isn't it gripping? It won all kinds of awards while I was in England.

Belinda said...

Susan, yes! Close Dwellers unite! Ha ha!