Well who would have thought it ?
From 2007 until early 2011 during most of this period, in one form or another I had to live with and endure anti-social behaviour where I lived. Full details of this are in previous blogs.
This started me to campaign even more within my community because I had enough of the louts who made my life a complete misery having to live in the middle of it.
In 2011 I also took the opportunity to leave my then employer Manchester City Council as they were making savage cuts where I worked and took voluntary severance.
I had already undertook much voluntary work in Swinton in the allotment movement when I formed a few years later The Swinton & District Allotments & Leisure Gardeners Association.
I decided to use my additional free time and much needed time out to stand up to anti-social louts in my community and my incompetent landlord City West Housing Trust whose mismanagemwnt of the area then contributed to my life being made a living hell.
I stood up to them and the louts and so far through better management it does seem community cohesion is returning to where I live. This year I have helped some many people as a result of my activities.
I have helped people with housing problems, homelessness problems, anti-social behaviour. I have helped local neighbours, elderly residents with simple things like shopping and much more.
I have campaigned on local issues, to make improvements to the area and even though some may not agree but stood up to wrongs in the community where grant monies were being spent by a few residents for their personal benefit rather than for the benefit of the whole community. Low and behold, as soon as I informed the community what was going on, the area of Swinton North gets a community fun day with monies in 2011 where in previous years this was spent on the benefit for a few people.
Much of my activity in the community has brought me personal ridicule. I have heard things like hes a trouble-maker, self-styled and even in one public meeting a group of local people who I stood up to to tell them how they were spending money on themselves meant for the whole community was wrong ie lunch at the Robin Hood - I was booed and hand-clapped in this meeting. I was vilified too for standing up to the police and local councillors to tell them that they were not doing their job when community cohesion had collapsed.
I have worked tirelessly daily spending my own money, hundreds of pounds for a better community. I have probably volunteered more hours freely than if I was working full-time. I have delivered around 40,000 leaflets in the community for a better community all paid for by myself.
I was the victim of serious anti-social behaviour and time and again my concerns were ignored. I have campaigned my own time and resources for a better community and I was vilified and ridiculed. I stood up to my landlord City West Housing Trust and they threatened me in writing with an injunction, with being fined, sued, gagged, evicted from my home and YES they even threatened me with imprisonment and YES I still hold their letter saying this.
All my life all I have ever done is help others. Whether in a professional capacity or in a voluntary role in the community and all of a sudden because I had the guts to say enough is enough I was suddenly fighting for my good reputation and integrity where I believe good morals and values are part an parcel of being a good citizen.
In essance, there is an existing establishment in place in the community where I live. If you not part of that or you are prepared to challenge this establishment, even if they are failing YOU then it is you that is wrong and it is you that is causing trouble.
I am a believer. I trust in God to do the right thing and my motives have always been and always will be for a better community. A better community is better for everyone.
I love Swinton. I will always love my home city of Preston. I am Preston through and through. But I love SWinton and Salford too. I love Swinton and contributed to the town through my voluntary activities over many years because it is a beautiful place to be. The people are genuine. I set up the "Save our Swinton" campaign because the town deserves to retain its identity and hence being Swintonian and the benefits of a Swinton constituency to the town.
My other activities are earlier in the blog and I have done all this freely even though for about 3/4 years of my time here out of 7 years my life has been probably a misery because of the idiots I have been living next to.
Some people have said to me why dont you move ? You dont have to put up with it and no doubt the EASIEST thing for me to do was to move. I had an appalling landlord living next to that was appalling neighbours. Those that were making my life a misery and some neighbours who did not give two hoots about others and just continued with their freebie junkets as long as they were able to continue to live in peace.
Instead, I decided to stay and fight. Fight the anti-social louts, fight my landlord to do the right thing and stand up to the community to be more spirited to everyone. I have done this. I know I did the right thing because I love where I live, love Swinton and love Salford.
I am now involved in local politics. Campaigning on strategic issues like for a directly-elected mayor for the city which I genuinely believe will improve our city for the better.
I am fighting for a lower council tax, for Swinton and for local people. The year in the city has come to a tragic end with the murder of a young man visiting the city which looks likely to be a hate crime and along with the riots demonstrates to me like my immediate locality where I lived that fundamental change is required in the city. Why should the very good name of Salford people be tarnished and vilified by a mindless few ? It shouldnt.
And therefore, this is a cause worth fighting for. The city needs a leader, a real leader someone with civic pride who is not afrid to exercise their powers and lead from the front by example. A person eleccted by the people for the people will do this. This has to be a directly-elected mayor. I am campaigning very hard to do this.
2012 I have met so many new friends. You know who you are when you read this. Thank you for your support and your friendship is very much valued.
So as 2011 comes to a close - I wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012. Thank you.