An Idea that was sent through a couple of weeks ago; let's have a guest blogger! Great, let us see what a local resident has to say about where we live, shop, eat and play......
So…thank you to Christine for letting me post the first of many (I hope) guest bloggers to the site. I’m Phil Barrett, local resident, husband to Jen, and father to 18 month old Ben. I’ve been asking myself why I offered to write a blog; and aside from really believing in what Christine is doing, I guess I just wanted to gage the opinions of my fellow Garforth-folk to see if my own thoughts about where we live resonate with anyone else, otherwise I may sound like a total rambling narcissist.
It was whilst recently renewing the home insurance that I realised I have been a proud resident of Garforth for 10 years now. (I wonder if I’m now considered ‘a local’!). A lot has happened in those 10 years for me and my family and it’s good to call Garforth ‘home’. It’s the little things I like in Garforth like how people still say ‘Hi’, ‘Morning’ and the classic smile and nod from a friendly stranger, but as a small town, it feels a safe and friendly place to live with much to offer. But, and this could be a big ‘but’, I still feel that Garforth has so much more potential….
As a town, city and country, we’ve all gone through a fairly long drawn-out recession over the last few years with both businesses and people being put through the mill. I think Garforth has, on the whole or on the face of it, faired rather well. We’ve had businesses swim against the tide (can anyone remember Dorothy Ann’s or Pease’s not being there?), we’ve had several newcomers flourish (Cielo, The Green Grocer, Sweetshakes to name a few) which in turn, I suspect, has shown the potential for other new small businesses like Pride and Produce, Quirky Ales and the soon-to-be-opened ‘The Station House’. Long may this continue.
There are many positives when I think about Garforth, some great Primary schools, an excellent Secondary school, good train and motorway networks, good shops and good people, but for me though, it feels like Garforth is at, or at least nearing, a bit of a crossroads. It can either drift, and we can hope it continues to improve, or the residents of Garforth, I reckon, could make it go from strength to strength.
There are some great people around us like Cllr Dobson and of course Christine of the Main Deal who are passionate about Garforth and go out of their way to bring about change, but do we take these people and our local businesses for granted?
I know a lot of people with opinions about Garforth and regularly eavesdrop on the odd murmurings whilst pushing Ben on the swings at the local park, but I do sometimes wonder whether the people of Garforth are really that bothered about how our town will be in, say, 10 years time. Do people really care? For example, in the barbers, pubs, shops and more vocally online (I really need to curb the eavesdropping) I’ve often heard people complain about the number of hair and beauty businesses and charity shops we have. Whilst I do have some concerns, pragmatically I’ve also seen a lot of ghost-town Main Streets and I love to see how busy ours is. Plus, those businesses don’t start on a whim; a lot of painstaking research and due diligence is undertaken when, ultimately, necks are on the line.
So rather than complain about things after the horse has bolted (as I do), I feel we need to be more proactive. Simply put, what businesses do WE, the actual residents of Garforth, want to see set up and help succeed? Let’s give would-be or existing entrepreneurs a clear direction and open arms on what we DO want, surely that’s the best kind of research? And so, I am offering up the metaphorical microphone to you… what would you like to welcome to our Main Street?
Thanks, Phil, a very fabulous insight to what community is thinking - if you do have any comments to this week's, Guest BLogger, please do add yours and if you want to become one of our guest bloggers, please do email me : firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next week...........
STOP TEXTING WHILST DRIVING - KEEP GARFORTH AND IT'S PEOPLE SAFE
My name is Christine Thom, I came to live in Garforth 20 years ago; you may have seen me around ?