Reddish: The Five Year Plan. Part One: Communication

30 Jul

communicate

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.

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2 Responses to “Reddish: The Five Year Plan. Part One: Communication”

  1. Emily September 8, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    It’s a interesting and tricky question to ponder! Whereas people have a very clear idea of what, say, The Heatons or Chorlton have to offer, and an idea of their “brand”, I think Reddish does as you rightly say lack a strong identity. I think we need to be clear what we do offer and why it’s a good place to live/visit; perhaps make a little bit more about its unique ‘charms’ (such as the history of the 2 mills and the lovely park), rather than worry too much about competing with other areas. Easier said than done. As you said elsewhere, there are places that are a bit shabby and could do with a spruce up (e.g. empty shop windows – the one near the Post Office with the art displays is a good example of a positive use for an empty shop, which could be used elsewhere too).

    ReddFest is a brilliant idea and it would be great if this could be extended somehow to be bigger and encourage more people to come, perhaps a wider selection of activities/events, I’ve got a silly idea of ‘party in the park at Reddish Vale’ going round my head now! It was a real pity the whims of the weather interfered with it so much this year.

    But really interesting post and some ideas I’ll be mulling over for a while….I’ll let you know if I have any great ideas!

    • reddishnews September 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      The Heatons didn’t always have a brand. Until quite recently, Heaton Moor, now thriving, was struggling to attract people to the area.
      For me, I’m not sold on the idea of Reddish becoming like one of the Heatons. As you have mentioned, I feel that it should be proud of its mill based working class history.
      The shop window dressing up is a great idea. Again, you have to be careful as an installation that’s an advert can mean that the shop owner is liable for business rates on the property.
      As a group, we’ve spoken about producers markets, events in the park and various other ideas but there definitely needs to be something to get the businesses working more closely together and also let people from outside of the area know that Reddish exists.
      Jez

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