The Reminiscence Group revisits history
During the course of a participatory budgeting event in Crompton, it became apparent that one of the attendees, Norman, was extremely well versed in the local history of the region. As a result, several people in the room – who had moved to Bolton as adults and therefore were not familiar with how it used to be and how it had developed – voiced great interest in hearing more about the area.
Norman arranged to give a dedicated talk to members of the Hibbert Street Community Centre. His talk covered how the city has dramatically changed from its heyday in the 1920s when it had over 200 cotton mills and almost 30 bleaching and dyeing works.
WHAT’S GOT BETTER
Increasing a diverse society’s awareness of a shared history and heritage has resulted in wider cross-cultural understanding and a united sense of civic pride. People who have seen Norman talk said the breadth of his knowledge was ‘amazing.’
With a deeper awareness of how life used to be in Bolton, a stronger sense of co-existing in valued space has been created.
This approach clearly illustrates Dr Camilla Lewis’s thesis of fusing ‘place and belonging’ in action. As she recently discussed in a presentation she gave as part of the Ambition for Ageing seminar series, Dr Lewis maintains that nostalgia can be used as a social catalyst for common good to enhance a sense of shared space, community and heritage.
The simple step of offering an evening where people from diverse cultures and countries could find out more about the local area in which they lived from someone who knew it so well and who had lived in it for so long, has had very wide and positive implications. It has strengthened a sense of unity and common belonging and also set the scene for similar historical evenings in future which will serve to develop this new knowledge and these growing social bonds further .
Norman has now built up a strong friendship with some of the South Asian men who attend the Hibbert Centre, and continues to share his memories of Bolton with them.
Yasmin Holgeth, Ambition for Ageing Project Officer, Age UK Bolton & Bolton Community and Voluntary Services