Knowsley Needs to Shape up – but So Do We

By on Tuesday, June 25, 2013

heartprescotSomewhere in the bowels of Knowsley Council HQ there’s a dartboard with my photo on it.

The job of being Prescot’s only independent news media means pushing the council to the point of being an annoyance. But it’s time it happened, because Prescot hasn’t had its own press in years, and every town deserves a platform for news and opinion that doesn’t simply publish PR for the powers that be. It’s about accountability.

I can certainly criticise with the best of ’em – and there’s more to come, believe me – but I’m also keenly aware that as much as Knowsley Council has to step up to the plate, so do we.

We can reasonably expect certain things of those in local government, but by the same token, they can reasonably expect us to take some responsibility for our communities and play our part in making Prescot a better place.

Taking Pride in Prescot

Until they retired a couple of years ago, my parents took a lot of pride in their little Whiston shop. My dad would often sweep the pavement outside and pick up other people’s litter to keep the place looking welcoming and tidy. Oddly, he’d get some criticism for it. Why? “Because that’s the council’s job.”

I’m pleased to say that spirit of pitching in to keep the neighbourhood tidy has rubbed off on me. I took my sister’s kids for a walk through Stadt Moers Park recently. In the playground next to the Whiston Health Centre, we found stray bottles and cans, so before we played, I gave them a task – pick up a piece of litter each and put it in the bin.

stadtmoerspark

Then, as we walked further through the park, we found more rubbish. We all picked up one or two bits along the way. My eldest nephew was very enthused and had quite a collection by the time we got back to base. In short, we left the park a much tidier place than we found it.

I told them, “When the council’s good enough to give us a place as nice as this, we should do our bit to keep it looking nice.” (And it really is a beautiful public space – see the photo gallery on Facebook.) I was very proud of the kids that afternoon.

Is it me, or would some people rather have complained than put in a little effort to make things better?

I can hear the critics: “You shouldn’t have had to pick up that litter. That’s the council’s job!” But I hear sentiments like that, and I wonder whether we expect the council to have security cameras trained on every inch of public space, with emergency litter-pickers on call, waiting to rush to the scene at the first sign of a dropped Coke can.

Whiston Library Closure Imminent – What Can You Do?

Whiston_Library,_Merseyside

But there’s more to be done than the little tasks of picking up a piece of litter here or there. Take Whiston Library, for example. Knowsley Council’s literally taking it – it faces possible closure in 2014.

Cue the chorus decrying the move. But do we even use the library? Do we take it for granted? Would we be willing to step up and volunteer two hours a week to staff an alternative? Will we give up our free time to raise funds, raise awareness and pitch in with the hard work to keep a neighbourhood facility like a library?

(Clarification: Knowsley Council have confirmed that transferring the library to community ownership and use is what they have in mind – more on that soon.)

Locals Putting in the Effort to Help Cemetery

Prescot Online has published a lot of criticism of Knowsley Council over the condition of Prescot Cemetery recently, and quite rightly. Prescotians who live nearby and have family and friends buried there are angry at the apparent neglect.

It hasn’t stopped with anger, however. Over a dozen Prescot residents are in the process of setting up an official Friends of Prescot Cemetery to collaborate with Knowsley Council on making the property a better place and a more fitting tribute to the memory of their loved ones. These volunteers are willing to put in the time and the effort to put their words into action, and they’re hopeful that real improvements will come of it.

How Can YOU Make a Difference?

What if we all asked ourselves what we could do to make a difference in Prescot and Whiston?

pococompWith that in mind, Prescot Online will be starting a campaign to encourage Prescotians to care, to get involved and to make the town we believe in a better place.

The idea comes from Prescot Online reader Geoff Ormesher, and we’re running a competition to come up with a campaign name or slogan to motivate and inspire the people of Prescot to make a difference. For the prize, Poco Coffee has generously donated lunch for two in its Eccleston Street store.

Get those brain cells ticking over, and click here to enter.

Dave
(Editor, Prescot Online)

Whiston Library photo by Rept0n1x

6 Comments

  1. Terry

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Fantastic article.
    Unfortunately, those responsible for dropping the litter are probably not going to ever bother to read it.
    Equally, those people saying ‘it’s the council’s job’ are the same people complaining about being fined for dropping cigarette butts or leaving their dog mess everywhere.
    Basically, some people just want to live without any consideration to their fellow inhabitants of this planet.
    But huge pat on the back to you for setting a good example. Lest we forget….

  2. Simon Skidmore

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 10:28 am

    http://prescotonline.co.uk/index.php/2013/06/25/knowsley-needs-to-shape-up-but-so-do-we/ Excellent article.
    Really sad to hear that Whiston Library in Dragon Lane is due to close in 2014. Although I don’t live in the area now I used to go to this library from a very young age and its where I undoubtably also developed an appreciation and love of books and learning. Its partly why my house is jam packed with hundreds books today. Its also where I first took an interest in volunteering also possibly having some influence on the work I do today. Whilst the building might be in need of repair and an upgrade by the look of it, its a great shame if there are no plans or commitment for a replacement library for other residents in Whiston in the future. You could perhaps argue that in the age of the Kindle and other digital e-readers that libraries aren’t as necessary or as important as they used to be. Tell that to any University student and you would get a sharp response. In some parts of the country community groups have taken over the running of public libraries under threat of closure. Whilst its not always an ideal situation and there is an argument of thats what we pay taxes for (I happen to agree to a large extent) its a much better alternative than no library at all. http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/archive/2012/09/28/Local+News+(de_local_news)/9956919.Delight_as_community_takes_over_library/ It might well be worth residents who want to do something about keeping the library open to speak to “Locality” http://locality.org.uk/ Part of Localities work is to help communities manage, sustain and grow community assets. If residents in Whiston would be interested in doing something along those lines then do contact Locality or drop me a line at my email address simon.skidmore@corganisers.org.uk

  3. Vivienne Frodsham

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Well said Dave. I agree with every word you have said. Thank you for all you have done to bring this to everyone’s attention. We cannot let this continue without doing something about it. Hopefully, together we can all rally round and improve the town we have grown to love and maybe we will be proud of it once again.

  4. Fiona Dennett

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Great article with very well made points; it’s true that we cannot expect the council to do everthing if we as a community are not willing to ‘do our bit’. After all, most households would not countenance a raise in rates to cover the extra expense of litter pickers and the like.
    I was incenced last week when the Knowsley magazine was delivered to notice that for the community news there are separate pages for north and south Huyton, north and south Kirkby, and Whiston, Cronton and Prescot all share a page!! Obviously not much going on in our neck of the woods.

  5. Lynn Warbrick

    Tuesday, June 25, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    That’s terrible about Whiston Library but not surprising, sadly. The idea of it being run by the community though is a good one (it been done elsewhere in Liverpool), providing enough people get involved. Keep us updated as I would’nt mind being involved in some way. Cheers

  6. Pingback: Whiston Library under Threat of Closure | Prescot Online

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