Call for community spirit in Hucknall

10-0526-1''The new Bishop of Southwell, the Rt. Rev Paul Butler, centre, pictured during his visit to the Under One Roof centre in Hucknall last Friday.  He is pictured with from left, the Rev. Daniel Njuguna, Rebecca Wells, Brenda Shelbourne, Brian Clarke, the Rev. Richard Kellett and Colin Peat-Bailey.
10-0526-1''The new Bishop of Southwell, the Rt. Rev Paul Butler, centre, pictured during his visit to the Under One Roof centre in Hucknall last Friday. He is pictured with from left, the Rev. Daniel Njuguna, Rebecca Wells, Brenda Shelbourne, Brian Clarke, the Rev. Richard Kellett and Colin Peat-Bailey.
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A HEARTFELT plea has been issued for residents in Hucknall to show more community spirit.

The call came at a meeting of Hucknall Partnership group, which was attended by some of the town’s most dedicated volunteers.

Members urged locals to be at the forefront of a more caring and sharing town.

They want neighbours to help each other and to support the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged.

What’s more, they feel that such a bond among residents would be a crucial fillip in combating doom and gloom surrounding the economic downturn and cuts in public spending.

Brenda Shelbourne, chairman of the partnership group, said residents should harbour an attitude that “they are in it together”.

She added: “It is very difficult to get volunteers and it is even more difficult to get someone to go down the road and see if someone is OK.

“It needs some publicity to encourage residents to help their neighbours. They might need help themselves some day.”

Her sentiments were echoed by Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of Notts County Council.

He said that the big freeze before Christmas was a perfect example of the need to help neighbours.

“I did shopping for some of the elderly people who live near me,” said Coun Murphy. “That is the attitude to have. It takes nothing to knock on someone’s door and ask if they are OK.”

A little over a year ago, Hucknall and the rest of Ashfield was slammed as one of the worst places to live in the country.

As part of a Oneplace study conducted by the Audit Commission, it was stated that local people “have a low opinion of the area and the sense of community”.

It went on to criticise Ashfield District Council for failing to engender community spirit.

Quoting direct from the report, it stated: “Residents in Ashfield are not confident that people from different backgrounds get on well together.

“They do not get involved in volunteering much and don’t feel much like they are part of the neighbourhood. All of these things are worse than most other places.

“The council needs to do much more to help build a sense of community and help people get along.”

Since then, levels of satisfaction with the role played by Ashfield Council have increased. There is also a Neighbourhood Charter that sets out the council’s commitment to residents.

Work has also been done to improve Hucknall and increase levels of pride in the town.

But the audience at the partnership group said it is not just down to councils to boost community spirit. Instead individuals should take responsibility for their own actions.