2012: The year of the Wellington Renaissance…
Welcome to 2012 and to this new blog dedicated to documenting the Wellington Renaissance as it happens! Why now? Well, the town is beginning 2012 in a genuinely confident mood, and we want to capitalise on that. The civic, the voluntary and the commercial – all have positive stories to tell in the run up to this new year, in spite of all the doom and gloom that seems to be persisting around the country.
- CIVIC: the town’s excellent new civic quarter development is almost complete. It creates a sympathetic new gateway into the historic heart of the town, and will give local people a brand new library, registry office and improved leisure centre – not to mention space for 200 council staff. It’s fantastic that a time when some areas are seeing their libraries closing, ours is getting bigger and better!
- VOLUNTARY: the town’s many volunteer groups continue to thrive, and what’s particularly encouraging is that some of the most visible are relatively new. AFC Telford is showing other football clubs how to be a genuinely fan-led organisation, rooted in its community; the Wellington History Group goes from strength to strength with its monthly lectures and related events, and Walkers Are Welcome – new in 2011 – are already planning the town’s first walking festival for later this year. Wellington H2A, meanwhile (and I have to declare an interest here) are looking forward to another busy year of not only organising arts and cultural events, but bringing people together to kick start the sorts of exciting new projects we’ll be discussing on this blog.
- COMMERCIAL: wandering around the centre of the town over Christmas, there was definately a feeling that Wellington is turning a corner. Earlier in 2011, we saw the Fancy Dress Company and Market Square Boutique take up residence in the biggest shop on the Square; in summer a vacant unit on New Street became the William Withering family pub, and a flurry of activity at the end of the year has seen three new, quality independent businesses open their doors in December alone. If you haven’t spotted them yet, look out for: Wrekin Rambler, stocking outdoor clothing and walkers’ accessories; Shakes n’ Shaves, a fifties-inspired milk bar and barbers’ shop combo; and the historic White Lion pub, now spruced up and under new management after a period of uncertainty – and with local real ales aplenty.
So – there’s an awful lot for us to be positive about. As such, 2012 must see us seize on these green shoots and make the most of every opportunity we get as a town. Wellington H2A and our friends have lots of ideas about what we can all be doing to brighten up the town – from new businesses we’d welcome to new community projects and campaigns that can harness the energy of local people in making our town an even better place to be. Big organisations – not least our local councils – can certainly help. But we can’t always look to them for inspiration, or even for money. Sometimes we’ll just need to get up and have a go at doing things ourselves. That might be challenging, but it’s also hugely exciting. And you’re personally invited be part of it!