Thursday, 24 July 2008

Facebook and talking to people in the park

These two pictures are linked by a chance conversation. The first one shows the hall at Thomas Helwys Church this afternoon just before the start of a meeting about the futures of New Lenton and Carrington Post Offices, which were both closed earlier this year after a sham consultation exercise by the Post Office. It was a packed meeting with standing room only for late arrivals and was a great success. It was a good example of Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum at work should anyone ask you what does the Forum do?

The main speaker was Alan Simpson, our local MP. During the course of the discussion which followed his speech someone pointed out that a large group of Lenton Post Office users was missing from the meeting — students — and what were they doing about the closure? Alan said that he had been talking to students and Melanie Futer, from Nottingham University, added that students had been campaigning against the closure of Lenton Post Office.

Lots of people spoke at the meeting and there were lots of imaginative ideas about how Nottingham City Council might be persuaded to work with local groups to get the two post offices re-opened. As Alan pointed out, it won't be easy, but it can be done. I suspect a lot of people left the meeting feeling that we might be able to get the post offices re-opened.

I walked home from the meeting via Lenton Recreation Ground, where I saw the three young men in my second picture sipping beer, as one of them played Spanish music with his guitar. They were chilling out and told me that they were students and that they had decided to stay in Lenton for the summer. I then mentioned that I had just come from a meeting about Lenton Post Office and the campaign to get it re-opened and that local residents wanted students to become involved as well. One of them replied 'There's a student website against closing Lenton Post Office on Facebook'.

Towards the end of the post office meeting Alan Simpson said how he was not very good with computers and that the trend towards getting all kinds of transactions done via computers was a bad thing and as an example he mentioned Facebook, saying that even his own staff at Westminster told him that they liked the fact that they could make friends with the help of Facebook. His response was to say "Why don't you go to a park and talk to people. That way, you might get some real friends'.

As someone who uses my blog as an excuse to talk to people in the park I was with Alan 100%. However I have to admit to being a Facebook member — initially at the request of one of my young grandsons, since when two adult friends have asked me to become a Facebook 'friend'. So, here I was, less than ten minutes after leaving the meeting with Alan's words still in my head, talking to real people in a park and I find myself being told that a group of students had started a Facebook page against the closure of Lenton Post Office. Before starting this blog entry I went and found the Facebook page for 'Lenton Post Office' and signed up as a 'friend' and added some pictures of Lenton Post Office, including a protest meeting being addressed by Alan.

Alan, I followed your advice and spoke to someone in the park and look where it got me — signing up as a friend of Lenton Post Office on Facebook!

Gordon Brown's plans to raise £100m from business towards the cost of training athletes and others for the London 2012 Olympics are in tatters because he did not realise that the Olympic 'rings' are exclusive to the organising committee, who are using them to raise money for their own projects.

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