The importance of saying “Thank You”

Age concern

Dignitaries including me(!) before the Age Concern Freedom Ceremony. The 1 recognises that they were the first Age Concern in the Country

One of the best ways to encourage people to renew their efforts is always to say “Thank You”. I have been reminded of this in two ways recently. Last Thursday I spoke at the Freedom of the City ceremony for Age Concern, Liverpool and Sefton. I am currently putting a few notes together for another such ceremony on Thursday for Local Solutions (tremble Mr Steve Hawkins!!)

But on Sunday I and all my councillor colleagues were thanked in our turn by Bishop Tom at the Annual Civic Mass at the Catholic Cathedral.

After he had given the final blessing he saw us on our way by thanking everyone who contributed to the life of our County. He described us as the glue which keeps society and communities together especially in hard times. Coming from him that was an absolutely marvellous way to end the event. Not so much because he is a Bishop but because he is an authentic Scouser. He is the fifth generation brought up in Scotty Road and served there for many years as a Parish Priest before being elevated to his present position.

He has seen hardship and still sees it in the work of his Church. When he said that Councillors can do great things and thanks us for them it made us all swell with pride.

That is why Freedom Ceremonies are so good. We don’t often give individuals the Freedom. Normally now we give freedoms to organisations. No they cannot drive their sheep down Castle Street; nor would they be hung with a silk noose instead of a hemp one if they were guilty of a misdemeanour. The honour carries no privileges but we hope, because they are always carried by a unanimous vote of the council, that they reflect the true esteem in which we hold those organisations.

All connected with those organisations can share that recognition. From Chief Executives, to Board Members or Trustees to staff and volunteers. Good leadership creates good teams and it is the team we wish to recognise.

Between Local Solutions and Age Concern, Liverpool & Sefton they have about 1,200+ staff and 500+ volunteers. Imagine what our City and County would be like if those organisations were not there. Think of how many people would be lonely, whose lives would be worsened and whose ability to cope would be challenged.

I am delighted that attempts to tie all this up as ‘Big Society’ have disappeared. This was a crass idea. I am pleased also that old ideas of charity have similarly bitten the dust although there are those who believe that there are the deserving and undeserving poor. Everyone who has served as a committee member, a trustee or a volunteer knows that to give is also to receive. The pleasure of being part of a well run body like these two is great indeed.

Both these organisations are committed to our city, innovative in their approach and provide magnificent services even when times are hard to those that need them.

I hope the Age Concern team enjoyed their night in the spotlight (and then at the Lady of Mann Afterwards!!) and that Local Solutions will do the same. When we thank you at these events we thank you on behalf of everyone.

But just a wider note to my readers. When did you last say thank you? Saying thank you costs nothing but brings magnificent dividend. So to all of you – most of whom I know are activists this is my Thank You to You. Keep up the good work! Society would be so much the poorer if you became a couch potato.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. . Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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