It is an honour to serve the city - Liberal councillor Chris Ash, Peterborough's Deputy Mayor
Sitting at a blank screen to start my piece, thoughts yet again turn to concerns about the decline of local democracy. Political argument for far too many people seems to be shouting down others, yet saying it's free speech. Then there are those who seem to think it's okay to use social media to push forward hateful comments and views. We must be able to air our views without fear. All too often lines of decency are crossed.
With so much that is wrong in the world, sometimes I wonder if there is any real hope for future generations.
But need it be that way? As deputy mayor the first 60 days working alongside the mayor has given us the opportunity to see all the good stuff people are doing and there are plenty of people working their socks off for communities.
The remembrance services following the atrocities in London and Manchester and also the fire in North Kensington (Grenfell Tower) gave a very sad start but it was heart-warming to see many people stop and join the minute’s silence.
I want to focus on the highs we four (Mayor, Mayoress, Deputy Mayoress and myself) have already come across . There are many folk who want to get out there and for whatever reason do something for the good of the community or push themselves on to do great things.
First though, I thought I might briefly answer a question we have been asked a few times - what the difference is between ourselves and the newly elected Mayor.
The new elected mayor post is purely a political one. It heads a new higher tier of local government (The combined authority). It probably would have been better if they gave the post another title (a competition to decide new titles in the PT perhaps?).
On the other hand City and Town Mayors are long standing traditional non-political civic roles to promote and be ambassadors for their own areas and communities, often acting as an impartial chairman at meetings.
We in the mayoral team aim to present a friendly face for Peterborough giving people the encouragement to take part in the community and also encourage others to come forward to show what they can do, not just for themselves but also for the community.
Many groups are keen to invite the Mayor to attend a function, fete or fund raising events. The Mayor is often asked to help members of the community highlight good causes and is also there to give groups, communities and individual people the recognition they deserve. Attending these events is the time when many come across the Mayor and or the Deputy Mayor. I can only touch on a few things we have attended over the last few weeks and it’s been an honour to help promote events and get to know more about various things happening in the city.
There was for example starting off the local football associations (PFA) 125 th anniversary event. We have been at presentations and awards where youngsters have earned various accolades for their achievements including Duke of Edinburgh Awards and also the Peterborough Regional College awards ceremony.
We watched groups of children from Chernobyl in a little concert given as a small thank you to families who gave them a short holiday away from the harsh reality of life back in the shadows of the 1986 nuclear disaster.
It makes it a pleasure knowing that people seem to appreciate us being there and more often than not the smiley face of the PT photographer to record the happy scene.
Do please contact the civic office if you would like the Mayor to be at an event.
Ensuring we get there on time and not double booked, or there working to help look after invited guests at the town hall, are the small band of staff working in the background. I hope that over the coming months as past Mayors have done we can continue to promote and encourage the good work people of all ages and from all walks of life have done.
I think they deserve all the good publicity they can get - and by showing there are good things in around the city we can work for a bright future.