When I first started working in Haverhill, one of the first things I was told about was the town’s famed ‘community spirit’, writes Andy Hunter, Chairman of ONE Haverhill Partnership.
People pull together and work together to get things done. They may not always get the plaudits, and many do not seek them, but there has since been countless examples of partnership-working, big and small, that make Haverhill such a special place.
Anyone who was in or around the town on Saturday 9th October would have seen this for themselves.
Yes, there was a big national spectacle of The Women’s Tour cycle race successfully descending on our town.
But, from volunteers to schools, businesses to residents and visitors, you could look all around and see a community working together to showcase the best of our town.
Next month will be another example of Haverhill doing what it does best when the town stands together to remember those who gave everything.
Under the expert management of Haverhill Town Council, Remembrance Day and Armistice Day will feature civic representatives alongside the Haverhill branch of The Royal British Legion, faith leaders, armed forces and emergency cadets, scouts and guides.
St Mary’s Churchyard, and parts of the High Street, will again be decorated with knitted and crafted poppies donated by the community while neighbouring businesses Ellis Interiors and The Craft Basket have joined forces to create a giant wreath decorated with more poppies and a silhouette of the lost soldier.
The organisers of such a special and poignant event should be commended – and it is in keeping with everything that is good about Haverhill.
We hope to foster this sense of community with a public consultation exercise in the months to come.
You may have read in these very pages that ONE Haverhill Partnership has just celebrated its 10th anniversary and we are using this milestone to look forward.
Before we begin talking to our local community, we have asked board members to think about things within the scope of what a community partnership can do.
ONE Haverhill Partnership can’t open a hospital, employ GPs, build railways or open a national High Street store. These are all important things for us to care about, but they are the responsibility of others.
Our forte is harnessing community assets to bring about a local solution to issues that are making life harder than it needs to be.
LifeLink and our work championing apprenticeships showed that partnership, and a bit of ambition, can make actual differences to people’s lives.
But in essence, these were really simple, community-based responses carried out better than anyone else had done before.
If you would like to talk to us about your priorities and what ONE Haverhill Partnership should focus on for the next decade, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Haverhill Town Council