I recently went to a business meeting in Gravesend and as I approached the town centre I could see that it was festooned with flags of St George and flags of the Union (Union Jacks).
This sight immediately gave me the feeling that this place is run by people who cared; people who wanted to make a difference and wanted to display the sense of civic pride that they felt in their town. It made me feel that I was going to find people in the Local Authority that wanted to talk and wanted to see how we could work together to improve their town.
They say that first impressions count. Gravesend town centre does have empty shops, like most town centres, but my first impression given by the visual excitement of the mass of flags left me with the feeling that this place is going to fight to improve itself and the local authority sees that it has a role to play in doing so.
I have only so much time available to me and I know which places, and type of places, I am going to choose to work with – those which seem to have people who care and want to do what they can even with limited funds, rather than places which seem to have given up or have councils which don’t see that they have a role to play in reviving their area – even if that is only putting out some flags.