Communities anchoring together - Deputy Mayor Chris Ash, Liberal Party

Speaker's Corner columnists -  Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
Speaker's Corner columnists - Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/opinion, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
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We on the Mayor’s team have had the privilege of meeting many groups who are working hard for various communities and appreciate their efforts. Its fantastic that here in Peterborough we have so many groups and people putting time in (paid or unpaid) to help others. We cannot say thank you often enough to the volunteers who give up time to assist .

It’s a shame we are not able to get to them all.

The Mayor, Cllr John Fox is using the anchor symbol to promote communities working together and you will see us from to time wearing an anchor lapel badge. John and I will also be giving badges to folk involved with various community groups and we hope they will be worn by community leaders to help promote the community work and cohesion that has been achieved and continue to achieve in our city.

Why the anchor? Well, apart from John’s Navy connection (he was in the service for 11 years) it symbolises the idea of communities anchoring together. The idea is to show the strength and stability that comes from sound partnerships.

I am going to sneak in a plug here for the Mayor Charities – they are Shopmobilty, Addenbrookes Charitable Trust and the Sea Cadets. The Mayor is hoping that by accepting the lapel badge it will also encourage people to support and perhaps make a donation to the Mayor’s charity which will at the end of his term be shared out to those groups.

An important part of being a ward councillor is to help local groups and help them to draw people together by encouraging and supporting communities.

I think as part of the Mayor’s team we can assist by helping groups link with others not just in one area but throughout Peterborough, or even beyond our own borders.

Another thing that can draw people together is education and learning. We learn with, and from, others throughout our lives and many long standing friendships are formed at school, or perhaps through further education or learning from colleagues at our work place,

We have attended several graduation ceremonies and this week at the cathedral we were privileged to join students from the Anglia Ruskin University to celebrate the achievements of local students at their graduation ceremony and we offer our congratulations to them .

Not so long ago we were at Jack Hunt, joining students from various schools celebrating their achievements.

Education is not just a formal affair at school and colleges but for us all and forever.

You don’t have to leave school with a fistful of certificates to continue learning.If you don’t achieve what you wished for so far in life, don’t give up. Formal education does not suit everyone. Some find they get on better in higher education long after they have left school – it’s never too late! Many people I know enjoy an informal way of learning where there is time for a chat and a bit of a laugh as well as a bit of serious stuff. Sometimes though people have to learn to overcome adversity in their lives, many do, and it has been wonderful (and dare I say a little moving) to meet people who do manage to overcome massive difficulties that life has thrown at them, and the many groups that are there to offer guidance.

At one event I was talking to an elderly lady who had been recently bereaved after a long happy marriage and decided to go on course. After a little while it did get a little heavy for her, but she moved on to another local group.

She told me she was very new to the group and though she found it enjoyable and friendly and found new friends, she did not have a lot to tell about the group itself .I gently disagreed saying that her tale said it all, and was the best advert for the group and the value of joining groups you could ever have.

I reckon we can all carry on learning and make new friends along the way, perhaps by discovering people nearby with similar interests, or starting up a new group and bringing others together.