LOCAL . . . it’s so important, isn’t it? I’m all for localness. The benefits of doing things locally, like shopping, for example, are well proved. It keeps small businesses ticking over, keeps people employed, keeps communities vibrant and relevant.
I’ve recently got involved in a local project and been amazed at just how satisfying it can be. I’ve joined a small group of friends in forming Felixstowe Creative Arts Trust, or F-CAT (although I’m strictly a dog person). As people who devote much of our time to theatre, art and music our aim is to establish a hub for the visual and perfoming arts in the Felixstowe area. Currently Felixstowe doesn’t have a suitable venue for small scale drama and music perfomances, or a suitable public space for art exhibitions. So, we’re talking to the Diocese of St Edmundbury and Ipswich about using the redundant St Mary’s Church in Trimley St Mary. We held a mini festival at the beginning of August to show people the potential for an arts centre and
‘I meet people who serve their communities and I always admire their passion and commitment, whether they’re organising the carnival or marshalling people to pick up litter’
the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. There’s considerable demand and enthusiasm for the idea, and the diocese likes it too. So watch this space!
Doing something for your local community can be incredibly rewarding. I meet people who serve their communities all the time, of course, and I always admire their passion and commitment, whether they’re organising the carnival, marshalling people to pick up litter or volunteering in some other capacity. It’s what keeps us going. It’s what makes us feel like ‘locals’ and want to care for the place where we live.
It’s important not to confuse local with parochial, of course. Our embryonic arts centre, for example, will not simply be a place to inflict our own dubious talents on local audiences. Our aim is that it will also appeal to touring companies who want to bring their theatre and music to us, and to audiences who want to come and see what Felixstowe has to offer culturally. Communities need new blood and fresh ideas, knowledge gained from farther afield that can help us do what we do even better.
September is a big month for events great and small – village fetes, harvest festivals, produce shows, occasions like the Woodbridge Shuck, and Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival. They’ll all be proudly local. Enjoy!
David Offord’s image of a kingfisher eating lunch at Lackford Lakes