This is a DIY story, new families, new connections, new ways of just getting on with it - and includes flooding. Community is vital in such difficult times. Enjoy!
The Wedding by Jo Miller
Nobody could say theirs was a conventional love affair, particularly Grandpa, an ex-Mayor and sage about all things councils would do.
Amy and Holly met not in the bar or workplace and, though they met on line, it wasn’t a dating group either. Both, from opposite ends of the borough and social strata, were volunteer flood wardens. In the 2013 floods, volunteer wardens posted readings online about rising water levels in communities which directed the council’s response to the changing situation. Both shared a similar wit and were keen users of the Facebook page the council had set up.
It wasn’t long before online conversation became a face-to-face meeting and from there love had grown. Grandpa was perfectly understanding about his granddaughter Amy marrying another woman, but he couldn’t get his head around the volunteer warden stuff: “What, no bridge engineers on call out taking readings?!”
Amy and Holly’s business came from those early social media forays, as they developed a local solution to loneliness, connecting older people to local services, and volunteers to befriend them via social media. Grandpa found all that new-fangled, too, and said that in his time at the council there was no choice stuff, with money used to get the services folk wanted. In his day, it was get what you were given.
This last year was change all round. Holly had led on getting their new home, well, new to them. It was one of the derelicts by the railway they said nobody would live in, blighting the local community. The council said millions were needed to demolish and rebuild. Then an energetic councillor and local people said, “Let’s give them away and ask people to do them up.” That’s what they had done, making them energy self-sufficient with solar panels made by residents.
So there was money for today’s wedding in the old council chamber, restored by the trust that owned it with lottery funds, and affordable because catering and flowers were being done by college students learning a trade. The council had definitely changed since Grandpa’s day!
Jo Miller is the Chief Executive of Doncaster MBC