Finally, the sun has found its way through the dark clouds! Although the dark clouds we have been experiencing were more in keeping with the austerity and cuts this Government has been inflicting on the country. I am glad the sun has finally made an appearance though because we have many positive and exciting things going on in Barnsley this summer.
There is a real sense of civic pride around the town and I can't wait to see the ambitious plans and exciting schemes come to fruition, from huge work programmes such as Remaking Barnsley to the smaller but no less important contributions to our town.
I heard Ian McMillan recently, speaking about the changes that Barnsley has gone through and his opinion that we should take “the long view” when it comes to the town. As Ian said, people will complain that it seems to be taking forever but actually, Remaking Barnsley is something that should never stop, we should carry on, keep on updating and renewing it.
This all begins of course, with the reopening of the Town Hall this month. I am pleased to be relocating my Constituency Office to the Town Hall in July and the team and I are really looking forward to moving in.
The People's Museum will open later on and I am fortunate enough to have had a look around, when the place was still very much a building site. Even then, the vision of the Experience Barnsley team, led by Dr John Tanner was evident throughout the museum space. This is going to be a fantastic attraction for everyone in Barnsley and for visitors to our town.
The Olympics will dominate the news over the summer and it is great that the partnership forged between Barnsley and the London borough of Newham has done so much work in bringing the Games closer to home here too. Many of our young people have visited the Olympic Village already and recently, the Newham Barnsley Partnership funded £500 Olympic bursaries to pay for people in Barnsley to report on the Olympics. These bursaries were to pay for creative and media work, so that people can tell the story of the Olympic Games from their own perspective, either by writing, filming, broadcasting, blogging or any other creative way they can come up with. I am really looking forward to seeing the results of this.
Then of course, there is the latest Proud of Barnsley event – Awards that allow everyone to nominate those who contribute to our town and the opportunity for us all to recognise the individuals and organisations that work so hard and help to make Barnsley the wonderful place it is now and will be in the future.
Finally, I am often stopped in the street when I'm walking through town and after the "How’s your baby?, Do you miss the Army?, You’re much taller in real life!" comments – all of which I enjoy, I often hear a story of survival. Survival through the hardship the town has experienced in the past, and is experiencing now – survival through personal tragedy and survival, despite the curve balls that life often throws at us. These stories demonstrate the incredible resilience of the people in Barnsley. Survive they have, and survive we will.
Yes, these are very tough times for a lot of people, but a positive outlook and a sense of pride will help us to get through them together, as well as helping to build the brighter future we are all aiming for in Barnsley.