It seems barely possible that when I wrote my last (first!) introduction as Chair, the sun was beating your eyes out and we were in the middle of a heatwave that seemed to last forever. Let’s just say that it isn’t quite like that now! But change is good – it enables us to look forward to new things while remembering pleasures past. I love a good Summer but I also enjoy Autumn – crispy leaves, gorgeous colours and the excitement of Christmas to come!
As I think back over the year, I think we’ve had lots to celebrate. Quality Gold, of course, but also the opening of the long-awaited tennis courts, yet another BKV win, successful tea parties for those over 84 and the eventual delivery of the GLEAN library building. It seems as though planning for the new village library HQ has been going on for ever (and I’m sure that the GLEAN Hub committee think so too – they have worked so hard) but eventually all obstacles have been overcome by teamwork and persistence.
I think there’s a message there for us all to take into the new year because it seems as though local communities are going to have to undertake many more tasks which were formerly done by others. Thanks to draconian funding cuts, neither Borough nor County Councils can carry on doing all that they have previously undertaken and they are hoping that parish councils and local communities can pick up the slack with things like crossing patrols, grass-cutting and numerous other jobs. Needless to say, the money does not follow the task and we shall have to think carefully as a parish council to see what we feel able to do. Those discussions are yet to be had but there’s one thing I do know - we are incredibly fortunate to live in a parish with such a strong sense of community, where teams of people work together to help each other and to maintain their environment to the highest possible standard. That spirit will be even more necessary in the coming year.
Although it is still a little early, our next edition is in March, so I shall take this opportunity to wish every parishioner a Happy Christmas and an enjoyable and fulfilling New Year. Whatever challenges we face, we shall face them together, working to make our parish a great place to live and doing our best to help those who may need a bit of support. See you in 2019!
Cllr Gail Gregory
Chair of Gnosall Parish Council
a report by Cllr Gail Gregory
In our June edition, we told you that there was a vacancy on the Parish Council, promising to let you know once the vacancy had been filled. I am pleased to report that we had two applicants for the position, both very well-qualified – so often it is impossible to get any volunteers, so we were very fortunate indeed. After interviewing both, councillors co-opted Jordan Archer as our newest Councillor.
This is something of a coup for us. In common with other councils across the country, Gnosall has a councillor-profile which is (how can I say this tactfully?) tending toward the mature end of the spectrum! Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with maturity – but it can make it difficult at times to feel fully in touch with the younger generation in our parish. Make no mistake about it – it’s vitally important that we ARE in touch with young people, because they are the future of this village and we need to engage them in helping to continue the good work that we already see here and taking it even further. But all over the country, councils and political parties have difficulty in getting younger people to stand for election or hold public office. In part, this is quite understandable. Those in full-time work or learning can’t make daytime meetings or perhaps many evening ones, when they have assignments to complete and so on. However, I think it’s more than just that; despite being politically aware on social media, many young people feel disengaged from the traditional means of political (with a small ‘p’) organisation and perceive committees and councils as remote, boring and ineffective.
That’s why I am so very pleased that our newest Councillor is just 20 years old. Jordan offers us a direct route into dialogue with young people and his work as Youth Club Leader at GG’s simply adds to that. Of course, he brings much more than this to the role, because for years he’s been actively involved in supporting the Parish Council at every opportunity and you can hardly have failed to see him helping at almost everything that goes on in this village. In terms of willingness to get his hands dirty and take part in whatever is needed to develop the aims of the Parish Council, Jordan has nothing to prove.
I am sure that there will be those who feel that this is too young to be a parish councillor – though we aren’t ground-breakers here I’m afraid. Colwich Parish Council elected its Great Haywood ward councillor in May 2015 at the age of just 18 – and she has now gone on to be a Borough Councillor! So they got there before us. And even Jordan will have to get his skates on if he is to emulate the achievements of that notable politician William Pitt the Younger, who was elected Prime Minister in 1783 at the age of 24! He held office until 1801 but was Prime Minister again in 1804 until his death in 1806 aged just 47, so his colleagues must have thought he was doing something right!
There’s an old saying “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough” and I think that’s very true. Age does not necessarily bring either wisdom or humility – neither is it a guarantee of experience because some people just relive the same experience year after year instead of learning and growing. I am delighted to welcome our newest, youngest Councillor on board and I am excited to think of the links and ideas which will spring from this appointment.