This morning, I was up in New Addington supporting a voluntary project organised by the excellent Cllr Tony Pearson as part of Sewa Day.
Sewa means "selfless services". The term is Indian in origin but the concept of helping others with no expectation of anything in return is universal. Croydon Council have, to their credit, embraced the concept and Tony in particular organised several projects.
In the morning, we were freshening up Matthews Gardens - painting the gate and fences, weeding the communal areas and helping people with their gardens - though so many people turned up that we also had a sizeable team out litter picking on the Fieldway estate. And in the afternoon, while I was at a meeting at Croydon Minster regarding the riots, a team was out cleaning the Royal British Legion in Alwyn Close.
A big thank you to Tony for organising everything and to everyone who gave up their time to help out. As regular readers of this blog will know, I am a big proponent of everyone doing their bit to help keep the borough clean. I know some people feel that given how much we pay in Council Tax the Council should do it all but the reality is most of the money we pay doesn't go on cleaning and unless we all want to pay a lot more they are never going to be able to do it all on their own. There was a time when people used to take responsibility for the bit of street outside their front door. And whether or not you agree with me about that, it was great to see people of all backgrounds - including many young people, who parts of the media would have you believe are all feral these days - working together to improve New Addington.