7/7 ten years on: vibrancy of local organisations

2015 marks the tenth anniversary of 7/7, the London bombings. South Leeds Life has spoken to a range of local figures about those events, their aftermath and the decade since.

Cllr Adam OgilvieCllr Adam Ogilvie, who represents Beeston and Holbeck ward, remembers it was surreal to have the world’s media camped on our doorseteps.

“As councillors we tried to act as spokespeople so that residents didn’t have to during such a difficult time.”

He feels much of the media had its own agenda. The nationals weren’t interested in the community, whereas the Yorkshire Evening Post knew they had to live with us.

“People have got on with their lives since then. There’s a remarkable vibrancy of local organisations trying to make this a better place to live. There’s been a determination to get on with things. We could have fallen apart as a community, but we didn’t.”

He’s noticed that since 2005 a younger generation has come to take leadership roles, particularly in the Pakistani organisations. It has made them less insular and keener to work together with other organisations.

“Every community needs to recognise that it takes two to tango. We all need to let down our barriers and get to know people from backgrounds. Then we can all move forward.”

“There’s so much good work going on, the festivals, youth work, older people’s organisations, In Bloom groups. We need to tell the story and join up the dots – as South Leeds Life is doing.”

Adam sees the role of councillors as facilitators, supporting individuals and groups. It’s more of a community development role than telling people the council will do this or that. He says it’s about letting go a little rather than trying to control everything and he feels this is the way to break down the cynicism that many people have about politicians.

The financial climate is very difficult for the council with massive budget cuts, but there are still things that can be done to improve the area.

“We can help with small grants, or by putting groups in touch with one another.”

He is very positive about the recent Christmas Lights switch on events.

“There was a good turn out including many people from the Asian community. I think the Neighbourhood Plans in Holbeck and Beeston can be very positive too, with their aim of bringing the community together.”

2 Replies to “7/7 ten years on: vibrancy of local organisations”

  1. This is well said and very positive.

    Some interesting contrasts to Hanif Malik’s piece such as where it says “For over a year the Yorkshire Evening Post finished every story about Beeston with a paragraph reminding its readers that the London bombers came from Beeston. Eventually when they put this on an article about a youth football tournament, Hanif had had enough and went to see the editor.”

    I thought Hanif’s point about the need for a formal ‘Leeds response’ to “mark the tenth anniversary and show our empathy with the victims”, not just an insular Beeston discussion, was good. I guess residents would be looking to our councillors as ambassadors for Beeston at LCC to progress that one. It would be interesting to hear Adam’s view on this. Are there plans for Leeds/Beeston to do something formal on the anniversary?

    Hanif’s piece is here: http://www.sllife.leeds11.com/77-ten-years-traumatic-stressful-time/

  2. In the wake of the 7/7 terrorists attacks, the community of Beeston and Holbeck genuinely responded in a way that was in part spontaneous, but also in part relied on those critical characters in the community who really are the fabric of local society. No one person was pivotal but numerous local people organised or at least shaped what went on, be that the trip to London, the event outside Hamara or the involvement in the Leeds to London walk.

    There were numerous other events that reflected only positively on the local community. But the London attrocities were not the responsibility of Beeston, and the local community has nothing to be reproached about.

    Should the community mark the anniversary? I’m not sure, expressing one’s sympathy for the victims is understandable but Beeston should not have to feel it has to show the world anything. It is a fantastic community with brilliant residents and spirit, maybe it’s time to just move on. The association with those terrible events of 2005 was unfortunate but residents of the residents immunity should be proud of their community and residents of Leeds should be proud that Beeston is a part of our wider community.
    Dave Richmond

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