George Pitcher, Community Activist

I was once asked to welcome visitors to Edinburgh who were coming 
from all over Scotland for what was called the Scottish Community Voices Network in the City Chambers and I said “Good morning everybody, welcome to Edinburgh.  When you get off the train, when you park the car, you will be struck with Princes Street, the castle, 
all the stuff that you see on the photographs and think it’s absolutely fabulous.  But the biggest asset in this city are the people.  Never mind the castle, the people are the important thing.”  And the people are the biggest asset anywhere because if there weren’t any people there wouldn’t be a community.  And when people try – the Government, what have you – try to say what community is, you can’t describe it.  It’s like a family.  Everybody in the family doesn’t agree necessarily but you still exist as a family.  You can disagree as long as you don’t fall out.

 

I was at an event last year and they were talking about strong communities and I said: “Wait a minute, wait a minute!”  I said, “What do you mean when you talk about strong – communities aren’t strong.  
I’d rather talk about contented communities, happy communities, communities working together rather than strong communities.

 

“Strong communities you find when they meet adversity.  Just look at Manchester this week.  The whole community sort of banded together about a week after the two policewomen had been shot.  That’s a sign of a strong community.”  But I says “Heaven forbid that we’ve got to depend on adversity all the time.”

 

The picture tells us a story and when you hear the expression “They’ve got a lived-in face” – you can 
imagine what they’ve done.  
Some of it can bring me almost to tears or sympathetic – make 
you feel sympathetic towards them.  
It’s generally in the face itself.

 

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