I just thought it was about time I gave some airtime to the good stuff that happens round these parts. I'm not entirely sure how it's going to work, but I'm aiming at charting the positive side of living in Levenshulme and we'll see where it leads.
Here's a bit of the thinking behind it. We've lived in Levenshulme for six years now, and since we started our family we've begun to appreciate the things that are on our doorstep. I guess when you have kids, things that are walk-able become that much more important. So there are toddler groups and parks, and parks that have toddler groups in the middle of them, and health centres and story-times at the library, and swimming baths. And they're in Levenshulme. And we started going to them, instead of heading into central Manchester or Stockport for our cultural kicks.
And I really support what the Friends of Levenshulme are doing in raising awareness about the way certain parts of Levenshulme are run down and the whole campaigning aspect of trying to do something to put that right. But a part of me wanted to make sure that in the midst of all that "Who's Looking After Levenshulme?" stuff and highlighting neglect (absolutely vital though the campaign is), part of me wanted to get under the radar a little bit and notice the good things that people routinely do everyday.
I'd be walking past a particularly beautiful front garden on Broom Avenue and think to myself I wish I could just say "thank you" and show my appreciation, simple as that. Or I'd think about how the people who serve us at the Post Office on Stockport Road are always so friendly and helpful and, hey, they're still open and just round the corner and how many communities can say that? So I came back home and decided to print out some postcards that said "thank you" for whatever it was I appreciated. And I had fun designing a logo and setting up the blog, like when I was a ten year old with a typewriter and all set to start a novel or a newspaper (only without any ideas for a story).
I printed out twelve postcards and went for a stroll with the family to deliver the first batch.
A kind of underground viral appreciation marketing.
And I imagined the blog as a place for sharing stories about what's good about living here and the people who make it that way.
But like I said, it's very early days and I'm not sure how it's going to work, if at all. You can always let me know what you reckon by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: September 2008:
Well, I changed the logo and decided to get 1000 decent quality postcards printed (vegetable based inks, as eco-friendly as a postcard can be). When I mentioned it to Ian Spence, the minister at Levenshulme Baptist Church where our children go to toddler groups during the week, he was really positive and very kindly convinced his flock to contribute half the money toward printing costs.
Then I started looking for public places where people could pick up the postcards, as well as delivering a fair few myself and via friends. And, well, the blogs from September onwards continue the story.
matt clements, lovelevenshulme volunteer project organiser