Today at Reddish News we’ve decided to start what we hope will become a series of five articles about what we hope Reddish will become, or overcome in the coming years.
Today we’re going to be starting with arguably the biggest element of them all: Communication.
Reddish, as a small community, has many things going for it. The fact that there are so many independent, local tradesmen and women, and stores in the area attest to that. But the way in which the ideas and ambitions that these businesses and individuals is expressed is at best crude and disparate to say the least.
Communication can play a very important role in this. Yes, we know that we have a Reddish Business Forum that provides a focal point for local businesses to come together to try and make Reddish a better place to trade for them. But are we as residents welcome to contribute to this process?
We think it’s in everybody’s interest to have a thriving hub of independent businesses where people can live, work, play and enjoy their time in. We’re not there yet.
So, as well as serving businesses in the local area and supporting them all that we can as individuals, what else can be done to attract new businesses to the area? What can be done to open Reddish up to the world, and encourage people to come to Reddish for shopping and living – that place where they can get the best coffee in the Stockport Area, where they can come and get their clothes altered, keys cut and shoes re-heeled with enough time to do a bit of shopping and grab a bite to eat?
The only time businesses and the community have come together in recent months to communicate with the world at large has been to oppose a mosque being built on the site of the old Bull’s Head pub. And, if we’re all honest with ourselves, was it really a positive campaign? As a community, do we want to be known as one that welcomes new groups and individuals (potentially new shoppers, generating income for local businesses), or do we want to be known as an insular, self-serving community, that doesn’t welcome fresh perspectives and new ideas. Which one would you rather be seen as?
Like it or not, some of our communication with the neighboring boroughs, towns and cities will be coloured by some of the language that we’ve seen firsthand via social media channels regarding the mosque’s planning application. And it’s not a case of ‘like it or lump it’ when it comes to setting up business in an area such as ours.
If we want to bring a more rounded selection of new and exciting businesses and people to Reddish, we have to learn to communicate what’s GREAT about our area. What makes it better to trade in than Levenshulme, Heaton Moor or Gorton? Or, for instance, what makes it a more attractive place to unwind than one of the four Heatons (hint – we’ve got a massive, beautiful country park)?
We’ve spent so much time as a community shouting about what we don’t want – how about we all get together and talk about what we do want for a change? Our hopes for the community, for industry, for business?
We already have a community centre. Maybe we should use it to do just that? Young and old, in an environment that is open to everybody, regardless of their age and their choice of watering hole.
What would you, as a Reddishian, like to communicate to the world around us? What do you think would attract people to the area? How would you like to be seen by the rest of Manchester and Stockport? How would you like to see the area grow?
These are all big questions – ones that can only be answered by communicating with everybody in a clearer, more concise way, without making sweeping generalisations about what our community is, and what it should be.