Thursday 11 November 2021

Take back control of your town

Paint Your Town Red: How Preston Took Back Control and Your Town Can Too If you want something done, do it yourself. After "forty years of neoliberalism having gone unchecked and unchallenged" in the UK, what can people living in depressed areas do to counteract "post-industrial neglect and its deeply damaging social and economic impact"? Matthew Brown and Rhian Jones have some suggestions in this book.

Paint Your Town Red: How Preston Took Back Control and Your Town Can Too is aimed at those who want to make a difference within their community, to get involved, to take "ownership, direction and control of their own resources in order to improve their own lives" rather than rely on ever-diminishing aid from a centralised government whose primary concern is to bolster the economy of London and the South East.

The writers admit that such a project is not easy, nor will results be swift. They describe the problems and give examples of several successful community-wealth building projects in addition to Preston. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, nonetheless, the book offers a "four-step guide to beginning to develop a local strategy for community wealth-building". In addition there's a very good introduction to the workings of local government. This is possibly the first step for anyone interested in trying to make positive changes for a diverse community, since "councillors often look nothing like the communities who elect them". Engaging with your town/regional council "can lead to positive changes and more reflective representation of an area".

For those interested specifically in the "story" of the Preston Model, the book is less successful but nonetheless inspiring.

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