It’s easy to look back 100 years and say it’s because of the changes to the work place! in our case the loss of T. F. Firths the largest employer in Bailiff Bridge? Yes this was a probable big factor but it goes much deeper than this.
Let’s take a closer look and try to understand why Bailiff Bridge along with many other towns and villages around Britain and especially in the north of England has such a problem maintain their Community Spirit.
Going back over a hundred years the Community Spirit was possibly at its highest ever? Why is this and can it ever return?
Well in those days family values were very strong a thing that has been lost for most UK people, although it’s still very strong in other parts of the world where most people lived, worked and even married partners from the place where they were born, they even bought ALL their produce and goods locally, the villages and towns had many social events, gatherings and Community Spirits were very high with local factories and works contributing some of their money to upholding this community spirit among their workers with some events and activities sponsored by these works.
While Loosing T. F. Firths and other key employers, possibly did make a difference? But this was not the end of the Community Spirit, even when we lost most of our green space, even now with the people of Bailiff Bridge now travelling further in their posh shiny cars and flying off to some foreign holiday spot. Other villages have survived, (take a look at Norwood Green it does not even have a village shop) but has a great Community Spirit.
Possibly one thing that Bailiff Bridge lacks and many of its residents believe this to be the main cause, is has lost the old local community committee that worked for the people and the good of the village along with its community spirit most of all Bailiff Bridge Lost its ‘Own Community Centre’ and all the help and community wellbeing that comes with this real ‘Community Centre’ so ok the village has a Community Centre it even says ‘Bailiff Bridge Community Centre’ on the end of this very nice building. But But But it has absolutely nothing to do with the Community apart from it was built with the money that the true people of Bailiff Bridge worked tirelessly to build up all this money through holding events, gifts, raffles and by many more means, that the so called modern community squandered on a building that has not and will never ever do anything for the people of Bailiff Bridge along with the spirit of a village.
Well I am with the majority of the genuine Bailiff Bridge Residents (and this is not just the old codgers it is the real villagers) who believe all the money that the older people scrimped and saved to have a village centre should have bought St Aiden’s or Ebenezer and not the unhanded deal that was allegedly struck with the developer to demolition Firths on Victoria road, it should have been developed in to industrial units with work for the residents and surrounding areas, also the old Firths Canteen would have made an ideal Community Centre that would have served the village and its residents well, without a profit making all singing and dancing posh club house that locals seemed to be banned from using.
If we had a Community Centre like Norwood Green it could be for the good of the community with daily get together for the residents, low rents for residents, open locals to pop in for a coffee or use the toilet and much more.
Unfortunately until we get a Real Village Committee or working group along with a Real Community Centre that actually serves the Community village and villagers sadly we will never have a Village Spirit.