By this time next week Up Your Street will be five years old. It seems much much longer but mind you The Olympics and Paralympics London 2012 seems far far away. Up Your Street was borne out of a desire to encourage seniors to be involved with the Games after I had heard so many negative comments and I still do. There was plenty going on to engage communities in the gamble that was the new build in Stratford E15.There was free everything from icing cakes to theatre workshops. It was a grand time in the run up to July 2012.
Today, I was reflecting negatively aka keeping my real about all the promised outcomes or rather mission statements about all the projects which pretended to target seniors. I say pretend because the targeting stops as soon as the flyers are published. The outfits had fulfilled the task of engaging seniors in the community by hoping they’d pick up a flyer and no amount of pro-action was deemed necessary. Slogging interns supervised by temporary community spearheaders ticked the funders’ sheets.
So much just fizzled out and I know by experience that two great meetings for and on behalf of the older generation will be hyped overboard next week and deliver nothing except accolades for the academics.
The most recent fizzle was a radio art project in London where questions should have been explored. Hmm. The gross assumption was made that the new builds in London spoil life for seniors. Really? There was no debate, no questioning and a total lack of discipline for a group project.
Before that a pubs project to explore the left wing presence in the Thatcher years never started let alone finished. The link between the old Docklands pubs and what was going on with Lefties was tenuous and not understood, nay evident. The attendance at the project was abysmal because the essential pre-engagement of the community was non-existent. Heads should roll: Lottery money should be confiscated.
Prior to that there was a project where registers were never taken especially when the adverts gloried in classes of twenty and interns could only count nine people at most. Still more Bourbons for everyone present and more creatively compiled lists to submit to funders.
It goes on and on. It really sours me but people urge me to name and shame. They could try it. When I fill in evaluation sheets I think of those seniors who may like to enjoy what I didn’t rate so I’m ultra positive in order that the funders give more money out. I lie. The problem is that anyone can apply for cash and set up anything to promote themselves or their parent organisations. Couple of volunteers on board and you’re away.
There are many other things to cite like the missing but promised certificates of attendance, the art classes without easels, the non-receipt of finished clay tiles despite assurances that they were all parcelled up and ready to distribute, and the magnificent pretenders who said the coach was held up when in fact it had been cancelled the day before. There were the times when I was ignored and told to “piss off” because I said a truth. But it’s all so miserable. Worth watching though because in the end you do have to laugh.