Thursday, 17 May 2012
It's time for you to seize the day
BACK in ancient Rome years ago, the poet Horace wisely said that we should 'seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in the future'. Those words seem to be banging around in my head just now.
All we can really know is this time right now, and you can evidence that as you sit and read these words because this is your here and now. The past is the past and cannot be changed. The future is not ours to see and so, as Horace wisely said, we must celebrate the day.
Of course, these are stormy days and so many of us are being beaten down by daily economic hardships which tend to make celebrating anything difficult. While we might accept Horace's suggestion that we put as little trust as possible in the future, we do have a responsibility to do what is for the common good rather than remaining face down in the trough gobbling greedily away. We can see the consequence of that greedy gobbling where a few selfish people have taken more than they deserve and left the rest of us staggering under the yoke of the banking crisis. What upsets me is the nature of the rickety platform we have built for the next generation, having already spent their future! Now is the time to take stock, perhaps, before it is too late. Two things do need celebrating just now, and both relate to future generations.
The first is the spectacular new Paignton Green geoplay park. Although I wasn't in favour of losing a chunk of the Green, what has been built really is very good. On the first day it was open the whole park was covered in children and families, and every time it's not raining the same thing happens. The park is a consequence of community action and that alone is quite a thing to celebrate in this day and age! There is one small adjustment for Torbay Council to make, and that is to ensure a safe crossing between the beach and the park because at the moment it is a rat run between moving traffic and parked cars. That apart, it really is the most amazing world-class facility, and so well done to all those who worked tirelessly to make it happen. Old Horace would certainly see that, I have no doubt, as seizing the day!
The second is a little more problematic, and that is the new Parkfield development in Paignton. Those who read my wriggly words will know I was hugely excited when this £4.8million youth facility opened. If you have yet to visit then please do. As you drive along the main road you will see two huge signs outside the seemingly semi-derelict Parkfield House. That is a little confusing, I think, however if you drive around the corner toward Torquay simply turn left into Colin Road and head for the car park. To your left now is this spectacular complex with its world class BMX track (pictured)! Sadly, the opening of Parkfield coincided with a draconian funding cut for already beleaguered Torbay Youth Service with a somewhat predictable outcome.
Our young people wax lyrical about the stunning skate park, climbing wall, sport hall and other things, but there is the worry that if we don't get this whole enterprise on a firm footing then it will drift into the mediocre and that, my friends, would be heart breaking. There is an increasing gap between the promotional video and the way things have so far panned out. So how about becoming a Parkfield volunteer? Isn't that how the Big Society is supposed to work? Well, here is your chance to contribute toward the future in a very physical way. Just simply turn up at the Parkfield reception and offer your help. Outstanding!
One of the things I feel really strongly about is identity. Once you establish an identity it tends to stick. We watched that happen years ago when Torbay Council attempted to charge everyone who turned up to look around the then new English Riviera Centre an entrance fee. I was there and listened to the comments as people turned away, probably never to come back. I don't think it ever really recovered from that idiotic decision.
Both the geoplay park and Parkfield will now be building an identity, and it will need community support to ensure that both become a beacon of excellence and a platform for our young people in these battered times. So here's the thing. When you get up in the morning take a look at the person looking back at you, and ask whether today will the day that you will make a difference. The day where you don't get knocked down in a daze of negativity and deciding that it is all too much. Perhaps it is all too much, but that isn't a reason for mooching looking and sounding like Pooh Bear's friend Eeyore! As dear old Horace said way back in 65BC — seize the day.
Is that a smile I see?