in Wandsworth

Learning from the Civic Awards

The Mayor of Wandsworth with the 2013 Civic Award Winners

2013’s Wandsworth Civic Award winners (photo by Love Battersea)

If this blog were powered by good intentions there would be (at least) daily posts. But, through lack of time, self-censoring or just plain laziness they rarely make it to the blog. So a growing sense of hypocrisy by omission, therefore brings to belatedly post about last week’s Civic Dinner and Awards.

In an age of austerity the event is one of Wandsworth’s last set-piece occasions, but one that I hope remains for a long time to come, since it’s also one of the last big opportunities we have as a civic organisation to celebrate the people who make the borough great. While some may feel that dressing up and having a dinner is an extravagance, I’m inclined to think that if we consider it a cost against the work done by the borough’s many volunteers it is incredibly good value.

Curiously the full list of winners doesn’t seem to be published by the council yet, but there are two I would highlight: Marlene Price and Shirley Price (I’m compelled to add: no relation) who, from opposite ends of the borough, have dedicated themselves to working hard for the residents of the estates on which they live and beyond. Only last Monday I was at the Roehampton Partnership where Shirley was challenging the council on school places for the residents of the Putney Vale estate and, I think, modifying to the council’s thinking. Both have offered decades of service without thinking of thanks; it’s great that we still have this opportunity to show the borough’s gratitude regardless.

Interestingly, I sat next to a representative of the voluntary sector during the meal and talking about some of my good intentions, but also about the barriers that I found off-putting (for reasons other than the Civic Awards, volunteering has been on my mind recently). I listed a few, like the lack of training, need for CRB checks. My neighbour added insurance and health and safety awareness, to which I nodded as if I’d already thought of those.

What became clear to me during the chat was that it is always easy to find obstacles, and to allow them to be blocks. What marks out the Civic Award winners (and nominees, and all those volunteers who, as yet, are unsung) is that they just get on with it: they have a JFDI attitude[1]

I had the good intention of taking a few minutes to write this blog post for almost a week.

Their good intentions don’t last long, because the turn them into great actions. An example we could probably all do to follow a bit more.


  1. Just flipping do it, although the ‘f’ is usually rendered less politely.  ↩

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