Wow, talk about not reading the room Barry Town Council.
I stand back in amazement that our residents actually and actively engaged over the new name for the Cemetery Approach Community Centre…and were completely ignored.
Truth be told, it was actual miracle that any names were put forward at all.
Barry Town Council asked for some suggestions at the busiest time of the year with a woefully short four-day window in which to respond – and then only if you were on Facebook.
But us bold Barrians do love a challenge, and with a bit of a sweat on, a number of names were swiftly sent to the powers that be.
If you follow my bold blog, you’ll know that I campaigned for a Black Lives
Legacy in the optimistic hope that our first ever Black Female councillor Gwen Payne would be rightly recognised.
But credit also to everyone who dug deep, battling against the dire deadline, to put forward those trailblazing town residents who don’t even have that blue plaque on a Barry building – unlike Bob Hope…go figure.
Fast forward a fortnight, and Barry Town Council held a secret session to look at the list, before proudly placing the chosen four options on their Facebook page.
They have completely and utterly ignored any of the sensible suggestions our community put forward.
And excuse me while I finish yawning long enough to blog in bewilderment at the no imagination names they’ve finally come up with for our brand-new shiny Community Centre.
Not sure how deep they dug into the creative world of the Council to come up with these boring beauties but, wait for it, here they are:
o Tŷ Teilo
o Tŷ Merthyr Dyfan
o Cemetery Approach Community Centre
o Enfys Community Centre
So that’s Merthyr Dyfan House, Teilo House, and the Star, or Rainbow, Community Centre, I think as I always get them mixed up. I’m also not sure why we are naming new things after dead saints either. And although, whilst culturally I love our Nation’s language, using Welsh doesn’t always make it more exciting does it.
As for Cemetery Approach Community Centre, well, tell it as it is. Is that just in case, we forget what the big building on the approach to the Cemetery is then?
Barry Town Council claim they narrowed these names down from suggestions supplied. Jesus Christ, if these were the cream of the crop, my mind boggles to how boring the others were.
We’ll never know though, just what was submitted, by whom, and when – or how the famous four were chosen, from an apparently long list.
Barry Town Council, without a shred of thought for their really interested
residents, held this item under Part II.
And if I remember rightly from my Journo council meeting covering days this basically means not open to us public.
In my view, we should lead our town with openness and transparency, not just keep to behind the door decisions. Can’t for the life of me work out why the naming of our Community Centre was such a secret anyway.
Surely, with so many of us engaged, a public meeting would have been a
truly cohesive way to keep us connected, and to give us a strong sense of
ownership of our places in our very town.
Yeah, yeah, I know I wanted Gwen but this is almost certainly not sour
grapes. I would be happy if the Centre was named after anyone our residents respected and revered – may the best man…or woman win.
But that’s the point isn’t. None of the names suggested were seriously
considered – or were they, we’ll never know under the mysterious Part II
In my view, the whole shambles should be stopped, and started from scratch.
We need a longer, more publicised chance to put names forward. A Public Council Meeting to discuss the illustrious list. Clear sight of why the discussed decisions were made. And a more than five-day chance to vote on these final four.
It’s called letting the community decide Barry Town Council – why not try
And if you don’t then I see no reason not to put pressure on our elected
representatives to answer some of our searching questions.
I’ve tried this on their Facebook page by the way but all I can hear is a deafening silence. I’ve also asked for chat – still waiting for an invite on that one too.
The newly formed Vale Stand Up to Racism collective will also professionally and purposefully pursue the reasons behind this decision. We are a Black Led Campaign Group, with the strong support of Allies, looking to unite our communities. Now is the time to call out our elected bodies on their real reluctance and resistance to engage for change.
Back to Barry Town Council though. Whatever your politics, personal view, or preferred choice, for the Cemetery Approach Centre, surely you can see the injustice of it all.
So if your solid suggestion was discounted, or you just feel the unfairness, then please let them know here.
We need to speak up again Barry
It’s about time we were heard.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
As a founding member of Stand Up To Racism (Vale) she, promotes the Black-led Campaign Group who, with the strong support of Allies, aim to unite our communities. And also acts as Communications Advisor for the voluntary collective.
This Blog is also featured in Sue’s Views – the reboot of her much-loved infamous B&D opinion column from back in the day. Recently resurrected in Style Of The City Magazine, it focuses on the hot topics we are all talking about in beautiful Barry, and beyond – the good, the bad, the ugly.