Serendipity and Politics

Last year I submitted to local council’s draft Management Plan for a children’s playground to be built in our locality. I posted about it here. Council denied it and recommended that I pursue funding from the State Department of Sport and Recreation. I sat on my hands.

Months later I was spurred back into action. Probably in conjunction with my return to work as I’d have a load of kid-free telephone time available. On the advice of a couple of locals, I started looked into grants and trusts that were available for this sort of community project. However the work involved for the applicant, i.e. me, was mind boggling. I would have to manage all the purchasing, labour etc etc and the Trust would just provide a cheque for 50%. I can’t cop fundraising for the rest so I sat on my hands again. I spoke to the General Manager at COuncil and he was very helpful but unable to offer funding and just sent me back to my pile of grant applications. So I drafted a letter to our local member of parliament – Pru Goward – expressing my dismay at the lack of funding for a project such as this. Before sending it, I spoke to  a friend of Mum’s who proof read it for me and gave me lots of tips on how grants generally work. I was feeling energised again!

The following weekend he called me to say he’d found a small article in the SUnday paper about the State Government launching a new grant available to local councils for the purpose of building and upgrading playground equipment! This was exactly what I was after and it was being handed to me on a platter. Being available only to local council also meant that they would have to do all the legwork. I rang council and emailed them a transcript of the newspaper article. One week later the engineer at COuncil called me to tell me they’d just received a circular from State informing them of this new grant and so they were putting the Grants Officer onto it. She called me this last week to get some further info, which I’m putting together now and will send off on Thursday, and to discuss ideas for the playground.

So I’ve shelved the Trust application for now, along with my letter to Pru.

The squeaky wheel gets the monkeybars.

On a slightly less serendipitous note; I am now the treasurer of Playgroup. It’s come about in rather ungraceful circumstances.

We’re only a small playgroup and in the last few months it’s become very factionalised. It all came to a head when we had a stay-at-home Dad join us about a month ago. The Other Faction snapped him up under their collective wing and gossiped about other members’ children resulting in an overreaction to one child throwing a small toy.  Consequently we had a meeting to discuss whether we should schedule activities at playgroup instead of having 2 hours of free play with morning tea. The 2 present members of T.O.F.  were unimpressed that the majority dislike scheduling. So one of them got the huff and resigned from her position as Treasurer.

It’s much more complicated than that of course. Feelings had been hurt prior to all this, grudges have been held, and gossipping within the factions has ensued. I possess quite a neutral demeanor unless my friends and loved ones are openly challenged. Then I become the fiery Arian I am supposed to be. But prior to this showdown I have always been very pleasant to the individuals of T.O.F. and have had no reason to dislike them. Imagine my surprise to find that I’ve been the subject of gossip?! Stay-at-Home Dad saw me at the pub one day having lunch, we waved a cordial hello to each other before he returned to his friend, and I to my plate. SAHD has used this innocuous encounter to accuse me of blatantly ignoring him until he did a song and dance to get my attention. It just goes to show how positively nice I am that he’s had to make something from nothing.

And I’m quietly chuffed that I’ve been talked about at all.

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