To be honest, it was a great weekend for Worcester. Not only the number and variety of jubilee teas, but also the general buzz around the place. We hosted a lunch in the Guildhall for people nominated by local community groups, who had gone over and beyond what could be expected during the Covid crisis and it went really well, and then followed it up with a few neighbours still braving the clouds!
The Elgar Festival is now getting a regular footing in the city – Elgar’s birthday coincides with the Jubilee date of June 2 – and was well supported with fantastic performances by local and invited musicians. Huge talent and great music over a range of genres.
But bringing it home in these anxious times, I was pleased to accept, on behalf of the city, the grateful thanks of a Ukrainian refugee who talked to us at the Cathedral door on Saturday night. His story is moving and relevant but despite his tribulations he made a real effort to meet me and to attend the concert.
Things moved at a gentler pace during the week. Digging a sod on Broomhall Way at the start of the new housing development, one of the urban extensions agreed as part of the South Worcestershire Development Plan. Not without its controversy but we know we need affordable housing.
I also called in to see a community arts project in an empty shop provided by Crowngate – the Community Living Room. Organised by Crave Arts, the project gave space to people to talk and write about their own home life, good and – more often than not, not so good. It was a really interesting event aimed at drawing out the importance of a secure home through poetry and art, and tackling the anxieties, and worse, that some people have to deal with in their domestic life. Right on the money as far as my theme of the year goes, in tackling mental health and wellbeing through engagement with arts, heritage and culture.