I have followed with interest the recent debate in the local news and social media around what Derby is like and what a great, or not so great place it is to live. It is genuinely fascinating to learn of how people perceive our city, for good or bad. My interest was sparked even further when I posted a picture to my Facebook page of the beautiful upper floor façade of the former Boots building on the corner of St Peters Street and East Street. Interestingly, some people didn’t recognise it, thinking it must be some other city, not Derby simply because often we only see what’s in front of us rather than looking up or around.
So what is the reality?
The truth is although there is always room for improvement however we do have lots of things to celebrate and certainly lots of things to be proud of in Derby.
Firstly, it would be remiss not to mention the world renowned business and innovation that our great city is known for but for me it’s more than that, it’s our industrial heritage. The Silk Mill, the site of the world’s first factory, the railway industry harboured at the heart of our city where you can still feel the sense of innovation and history contained in The Roundhouse, the list is endless. Derby has always been at the centre of so many things that have revolutionised modern society, from Lara croft to Rolls Royce, Derby has consistently performed on the world stage and will, I’m sure play an integral role in the future with regards to the Governments, Midland Engine initiative which of course we must now make sure that Derby sits firmly at the forefront of all of the Governments plans.
Next, let’s not forget our great sporting expertise. Next year we will hosting the Women’s Cricket World Cup at the 3aaa ground, we of course have our velodrome and then of course the Rams and our supporters who win or lose always have a passion for success. It goes deeper than this though, I feel a sense of optimism about the city, and yes of course we need to be transforming areas that are not up to scratch, the Assembly Rooms and Moorways spring to mind as obvious candidates but pride in a city goes beyond bricks and mortar.
My optimism extends towards Education and the great work of the University, transformed over recent years to a place where students are choosing to come, rather than a convenient option for Derby residents, our Derby College with two areas judged as outstanding by its recent OFSTED inspection, our Superhospital, The Royal Derby, that yes needs to sort out its parking issues for patients and residents, but once inside offers care and compassion second to none.
Our parks, Arboretum, being the country’s first public park along with a plethora of beautiful, well used open spaces scattered across Derby North particularly Darley Park are all fantastic assets to our city.
Without doubt there are areas of Derby that have fallen into disrepair and require attention and we can all put blame somewhere for this but the reality is that we all have a part to play. We can hold the council to account to make sure that money is spent where it is needed, we can absolutely find alternatives ways of funding projects and redevelopment and of course your MP’s have the responsibility to stand up for this great City, promoting its richness and asking for any and all help that is needed.
There is much to celebrate, promote and to have a deep sense of pride about in Derby but thinking about what I love about our city, I suppose most of all it’s the people. We are a blend of so many different views and cultures, we are hardworking and optimistic and have a great love of life and we are fiercely defensive and supportive of the rights of others.
So yes, there is of course a lot to do in Derby, but like the photo I mentioned at the start, let’s broaden our view and celebrate what’s good about our wonderful city and work hard on what needs to be done.