At the turn of the Millennium I helped to establish a charity which distributes surplus food, food that would otherwise go to waste. FareShare is an exciting project and the scheme in Brighton & Hove has grown significantly over the last decade, in large part as a result of the hard work of Nathan who was our project Manager until earlier this year. As we were planning the process for replacing Nathan who had secured a new job elsewhere we reflected that it would be good to find a fitting way to mark the transition between Nathan’s tenure and the work of the new Manager, Marion. Several members of the steering group were present at an event at which the Mayor of Brighton & Hove spoke and as a result of a conversation he offered to host a celebration at his Parlour in Brighton Town Hall. This seemed to be a splendid solution and arrangements where duly made.
Last night we held the event and the Mayor and his Mayoress were both wonderful hosts. Many thanks to Brian and Nora for their generosity, and to the city for providing nibbles and soft drinks. Choccywoccydoodah also provided one of their lovely cakes which was an unexpected treat. The photograph above shows a group of people, most of whom are hard to distinguish from one another. Some are employees, some Trustees or steering group members and some are volunteers. Within the group of volunteers there are a few folk from Rotary clubs and then a few whose lives have been damaged by drug and alcohol dependency, or whose life experiences have included time living without a permanent abode (homeless to you and me). Sadly a substantial number of the latter group of volunteers, although keen to participate, chose to stay away because they felt intimidated by the idea of meeting the Mayor and visiting his Parlour. The Mayor is the first resident of the city, he sits as Chair of the Council and if democracy is personified, then in Brighton & Hove Brian Fitch is currently democracy. If residents are intimidated by our Mayor (who is a very approachable person) then somehow, they are intimidated by democracy too. Understanding the confidence needed to visit the Town Hall and the Mayors Parlour is vital for all of us who perhaps overcame our fears of such things many years ago, or perhaps were confident almost from the point they were born.