It’s a marvelous old phrase that one!
And in this instance it’s particularly relevant, too.
You see, in June there’s a community fair in the part of Edinburgh where my wife’s business is located. It’s a really good event, the whole community rallies round and even Tescos gives a thousand quid to pretend they’re part of the local scene and care about the little guys.
A few weeks back a guy from the all powerful organising committee pops his head around the door and asks if we’d like to take a stall. The only caveat is that we can’t just promote the business we’d have to do something a little bit fun that also raises money for charity.
Well, what a fantastic opportunity for us to become much more involved with everything that’s positive about the area in which we work.
So, we hatched a scheme: our dog comes to the office every day and, it has to be said is a bit of a celebrity… he’s on our posters and people regularly stop me to ask about the woofer.
He’s particularly loved by the school children who see him on their way home from lessons. At the fair we were going to take photos of children with the dog, put them in little presentation folders and ask for a suitable donation from parents. The money we raised would go to to the fair’s preferred charity.
So, I was asked to ring a lady (another member of the all powerful organising committee) to book our position.
This is what she said: we don’t want local businesses there who are promoting themselves and raising a wee bit of money on the side. You can only have a stall if you are a registered charity because this is a community fair. Not really for businesses.
I’m not kidding.
And I’m not paraphrasing (much) either, that’s pretty much what she said.
I think this lady needs to ask herself a question: What actually makes a community? Of course, it’s the sum total of all it’s parts and local businesses are key to this. Without small businesses to attract people to a local area it just becomes a dormitory.
It was all a bit disappointing really; but we raised it and it’s going to be discussed at the all powerful organising committee’s next meeting… I’ll keep you posted.