River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Regeneration of your Village

March 2002

What can I do for my village?

Sounds rather grand, but what's it all about? Well, why not start at the beginning?

Years ago, when I was a child, we didn't even have electricity. Imagine today, throwing out of your home everything that uses electricity. You wouldn't have anything left. In those days, people living in villages in this part of the world, were hard up; it was the village businesses that were prosperous, and this came about because what little money people did have was spent in the village. There was no way you could travel to Town; you couldn't afford it. Trips to the' seaside, such as Hunstanton were once a year events organised by, I think, the Sunday School.

As time went by, not only did the men start to earn more money, but more and more women went out to work. Which made a significant difference to the family income. With this additional income, people not only transformed their homes with central heating etc. but were also able to afford cars. So trips to Town were now possible and you could afford to spend when you got there; all of this to the detriment of village businesses, and you soon had shops, pubs, etc closing down.

It hasn't just been village businesses that have declined. So have village sports. In my youth, just about every village had a Football Club, Cricket, Tennis etc. But Methwold, for example, hasn't had a cricket team for some 40 years. The time has now come to start to regenerate our villages and this will only happen if you put in the investment. Just like people have done in their homes. Where does the money come from? I believe most villages now have a wonderful opportunity! The demand for building land will increase and most villages have allotments, which are not in great demand, and with pressure put in the right places these could be sold as building plots. You could raise in this way sufficient cash which, invested, could bring in a yearly sum of some £40,000 that could be used, for example, to improve sports facilities in our villages. I don't know if every village could or should have their own sports centres. Maybe they should be like the Pump and come together collectively. What I do know is this is the 21st century and you can't expect people to support their teams by standing in the middle of a wind swept field.

I want a Sports Centre, centrally heated, carpeted, arm chairs, and a gin and tonic in my hand. This is 2002 not 1850. If our village folk have transformed their homes we should set to work transforming our villages. I attach great importance to our Village Pump. Not because of the articles 'like what I write' because they are of no importance; they merely fill the odd page or so and if they raise a smile now and then, well fine. Our Pump should be the very heart of this area. It should be bought by everyone, read by everyone, and contributed to by everyone. And the motto of everyone of us should NOT be 'What can my Village do for me?' but 'What can I do for my Village?' When we adopt that attitude we shall really be on our way

Les Lawrence

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