EDITORIAL: 31st October 2010
In the November edition of National Geographic there are two articles with a similar point coming through. The first is about a photographer who specialises in underwater photography, who approaches his subjects “with respect and care” who then respond well to his “non-intrusive presence.” The second article was about a team of 72 who have been conducting a census of endangered species, and specifically of gorillas in equatorial Africa. They conducted their survey without actually making contact with the “unhabituated gorillas, because it is stressful for them.”
It struck me, reading those two articles, that this non-intrusive approach is really how we would like to be as a fact finding magazine. The media generally don’t have that reputation in their hunt for copy, but we would like to be known as servants of the community and we come at no cost, to give a platform for each and every organisation, business etc. in Rochford and Ashingdon and East Hawkwell. I know we have repeated this a number of times over the weeks, but it is at the very heart of what we are seeking to do for Rochford.
Without in any way wanting to compare the people we interview with either fish or gorillas (!!!) we do understand that often there is initial suspicion when people first encounter us, for it does seem too good to be true that we are offering a FREE service to WHOEVER in Rochford and are willing to give them whatever platform they wish, within the operating criteria of Rochford Life where we have “a policy of respect for each and every person and organisation in Rochford” and “will always seek to support and encourage all in the community.” (see our ‘Who we are’ page). If you have news or information for the community please TELL US! It’s a free platform - you tell us and we’ll post it.
Another of the things we’ve become conscious of is that we want to use the ‘recreational’ pages to help people and so, to start with at least, we’re putting beginners materials on a number of the pages. If anyone has ideas for making educational pages, we’re open to hear any ideas you may have. Again, thank you to those who have encouraged us over the past week or so with your comments.
Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 24th October 2010
It’s been another encouraging week. We continue to receive comments of approval on the nature of this new site, so thank you to each one who has done that.
Twice this week we have observed how difficult it is to know what is going on in the area. The first time was when we visited the Roche Art Group at the Rocheway Centre, whose members told us they had been there twenty years. We live in the vicinity but had never heard of them. What was worse was when they mentioned the Rochford Art Trail this week ahead in Rochford. I had not heard of it and yet they handed me a Council map and brochure for the event revealing a well planned activity. So why had I not heard of it? Answer: because I had not visited the Council website. Why had I not visited the Council web site? Answer: because I did not know there was anything there for the resident of Rochford.
Now I have encountered this again and again and it goes to the very heart of the life of a modern community: how do you inform the community of the many and varied things that are going on in and around it? In small towns of the past, I am led to believe you had the Town Crier who loudly rang a bell to tell you there were things you needed to hear. Of course today the town is spread widely and people are scattered through their diverse work and activities so it becomes an almost impossible task to inform everyone.
So here is the vision for sometime in the future when everyone has Internet access: you log on to Rochford Life and find details of any and every shop, business, club, organisation, group and activity that is here in this conurbation we call Rochford, Ashingdon and Hawkwell. When that eventually happens, you can say, I was there at the start, I remember when they first started out, slow and tentative - but they got there!
With no big advertising media behind us, it will be slow and by word of mouth, but we’re happy with that, for it seems to be working. Tell your friends about us, and if they are part of a shop, business, club, organisation, group and activity that is here, encourage them to make contact with us so we can serve them. We’re not a business, remember, we’re simply a voluntary community resource, a resource that seeks to provide a platform for all the people of this area, a free service to our community. That’s it, and nothing less than that!
Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 17th October 2010
It’s been an encouraging week. Near the end of it, no less than four different people said how good they felt the site was. One of them said, “It is simple, straight forward, easily readable, and easy to find your way around. We purred with delight for those are exactly the characteristics we wanted for it. We aren’t here to sell anything – except Rochford itself and that to its residents! – and so we don’t try to be glossy or sophisticated, just, simple, straight forward, easy to read and easy to find your way around! We hope that YOU find it so.
It is interesting though, to note the increase in quality of web sites. Obviously we watch the web sites of the various organisations, businesses etc. in Rochford (and if you appear on this site we’ll always point our readers to your site if you have one) and in some quarters there have been distinct improvements in quality – there is some really nice stuff around (and yes, they make us look the simple country cousins – which is what we are!).
For the date watchers among you, you may note that we have moved the editorial to a Sunday, because that seems a more restful day and editorials, we feel, come out better in the more relaxed atmosphere away from the stresses of Monday. Perhaps that is not true for two of our contributors this week, two of the church leaders in the area. Sundays for them, are probably far from relaxing. We were asked not long ago “Why are you including the churches of Rochford in those people groups you are covering?” The answer has to be because, putting all the churches together, they comprise one of the bigger people groups of Rochford and, as the two interviews show, they are very community orientated and contribute quite a lot to the life of the community. One of them, you’ll see, would like to be open twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, in providing amenities for the community. Among the other interviews we did this week, one that particularly stands out is that with the Allotment Association for there, clearly, is a mini-community within the community and it was fun being with them. They are a good advert for community activities.
Have a good week.
EDITORIAL: 11th October 2010
Well here we are into our second week. This first week, up and running, has been fun and an eye-opener - but then that is the purpose of Rochford Life, to open up the life of Rochford to whoever wants to come and see it.
From, a weather perspective last week was rain, more rain, grey skies and then at last, yesterday, the sunshine the forecasters had been promising us. For us, here at Rochford Life, it has been a bit like that. Although for us the sun came out earlier. For us, in these early days, it's about making contact and that, to start with, was slow and grey, but then the sun came out and we met with an interviewed some really great people.
Bow Jangles Gifts in the Square were the first shop to appear on these pages and Carol's gifts are worth a visit. A number of contacts were made for future interviews but for this week we tended to focus on the various groups that use St. Marks Hall in Rochford, and they were really fun to talk to.
However, perhaps the greatest eye opener was talking with Janice Rigby in the Parish Council offices. If you thought a Parish Clerk was just a secretary who took notes of meetings, you're going to have to think again! As you’ll see in Part 1 of Jan’s interview we describe her as an enthusiast and a lover of Rochford. The biggest shocks that came about her job, you’ll find in the second part of the interview which we’ll publish later this week. Later this week you’ll also find here some wider perspectives on life in the Parish and District Councils as we bring to you the life of a Councillor. Again, an eye-opener.
But this is our aim, here in Rochford Life to provide a platform for people and organisations to reveal and open up the life of Rochford. It could be you next. Just ring us or mail us if you want to use us. Remember, its totally free; were just here to serve the community. You don’t have to be afraid; we’re not going to say bad things!
Have a good week,
EDITORIAL: 4th October 2010
Welcome to Rochford Life! Our desire is to present to you the rich tapestry of life that is Rochford. To help you understand how the magazine works, may I in this first week simply guide you to useful starting places. To find out who we are and our reason for being, please click on the “Who we are” button above. We do want regular feedback and comments (and even articles perhaps) from you and so click the “Contact Us” button above to see what we have to say about that. However, to pick up on articles within categories, please use the button list on the left of the “Home” page and return there to check out further contents.
Most of the time, what appears in the magazine remains online, so that you can refer back to it any time you like. New material will constantly be added and so the key to enjoying what is here is learning to follow the various links on the site. We hope it will be very easy to find your way around. If you find any difficulty, please tell us and we'll seek to change it and make it easier as soon as we can! For the moment the content is somewhat limited – you're one of the first people to find us, so have a look around and then come back in a week's time. Thereafter we’ll hope to have plenty of varied reading matter for you. Next week, once we’ve had time to add more material, we’ll explain the main areas and what you can hope to find here in the future. Happy browsing! See you soon.
Have a good week,
EDITORIAL: 27th September 2010
We're getting near to being ready to publish. We’ve been preparing for this for the past year. More than once we wondered whether we should do this. At the end of the day we’ve decided, yes, we’d like to do this for Rochford. Our aim, as we’ve written in the “Who We Are” section, is to draw people of Rochford together, if that is possible, by making people known. Last year we carried out a small number of trial interviews and we’re going to present them shortly and then try to update them. Every person we’ve talked to about doing this has been very encouraging and helpful. We’re a bunch of amateurs but we’ll see what we can do!
Our aim is to present a ‘magazine’, if we can call it that, which will present people and, along the way, get them to explain the workings of Rochford (the darker buttons on the left of the Home page).
We also want to include what we're going to call light recreational reading each week, a wide variety of material that we hope will be of interest to our readers (the lighter coloured buttons on the left of the Home page).
Why the subjects we've got at the moment? They just happened to be ones we can carry. If we can find people who will be willing to write on a wider variety of topics, then we’ll simply add more and more pages. The editor (me) is semi-retired and with a team of helpers we intend to update the magazine on a daily basis. Monday will be our main editorial day, but if people want us to add material we can do it straight away if necessary. All it will take is an e-mail or a phone call to us. Well enough of this thinking out loud. There’s work to be done if we are to get this out in the beginning of October.