I want to talk about love. I want to love my town more. Do you wish you could love your town more?
It’s so important to have your perspective in check isn’t it? Negative thoughts, the opinions of others and the influence of the world around us all contribute to our perception and can influence our thinking.
I’ve grown up in a town that has a split of opinion. There are voices that say our town is not a great place, that it’s rough and dismal. Other people seem to think it’s the centre of the universe. Neither are true.
It’s not perfect, of course! But I went the negative way of thinking for a long time. It made me feel like I didn’t want to be here, that I’d much rather live somewhere else, somewhere more positive maybe. Somewhere along the line I must have bought into the negative and put it on like an old coat and worn it.
As an adult I tried to move away twice, once to Cheltenham and another time to Bristol. I searched for bright lights and atmosphere, I job hunted and took interviews, but the door didn’t open and I didn’t move. What did happen was I met my husband. Now we have a family and our small family business is based in Yeovil. Our eldest son has just started school here and for the foreseeable future we are here. So how have I turned things around? How do I love my town more when nothing has actually changed?
I think Yeovil is a great place to live, in fact I think it’s an amazing place to live and bring up a family. Is this because suddenly I’ve decided to bury my head in the sand and see my town through rose coloured glasses? No! Do I suddenly think it’s the centre of the universe and there’s nowhere better? No!
There’s no point in covering up the negatives (the overgrown disused market, the lack of atmosphere in the town centre, the roads and traffic), the negatives are there and they need sorting out FOR SURE! I’ve just decided love my town more. To intentionally notice and celebrate the successes and positives AS WELL as note the improvements that could take place.
It’s all about balance.
I believe that changing our perception can literally change the world. In my case, it’s changed my town, for me.
The town has not changed but my perception of it has and trust me there’s a lot to love about Yeovil. About a year ago I posted ’10 things I love about Yeovil’ on Twitter, one thing a day for 10 days. I hash tagged #loveyeovil in each tweet as I wanted to intentionally love Yeovil even when I didn’t feel it. If I’m being honest even after this exercise I didn’t necessary ‘feel’ love for Yeovil, but they do say it takes awhile to break a habit and the exercise did make me recognise that the town has a lot going for it.
My thinking is that if I know the things that are great about Yeo then my feelings about it will catch up eventually. I am choosing to intentionally love my town more.
I really believe that there are true and false allegations laid at Yeovil’s feet. For example ‘Yeovil is rough’. It has rough areas sure, but where doesn’t? ‘Yeovil lacks atmosphere’. Maybe the town centre atmosphere could improve, and there are initiatives like Love Yeovil and Quedam Shopping Centre who are tacking just that. ‘There’s nothing to do in Yeovil’ is a statement with no truth.
With a 10 screen cinema, 10 pin bowling, restaurants, shopping, theatre, sports, cycle paths, football club, rugby club, golf club, literary festival, food market and vintage market events, parks and loads more besides. Add in the immediate surrounding area and there is plenty to do.
The improvement I want to see most is a shift in attitude, or gratitude, for a town that does us pretty well. I want us all to unite and love our town more. The Yeovil Town Football Club moto works for me ‘achieve by unity’.
I thought I’d write a post about the things I love about Yeovil and see if you can see the good that I see in the town.
O N E – YEOVIL IN BLOOM
My first love is our roundabouts. This might be a slightly random thing to love. Maybe your town’s roundabouts are ugly concrete things, just a thing in the road to help you move around in your car, just a facility to get you from A to B.
Well not in Yeo!
Our Council creatively work with sponsors to pretty up our town. From flower baskets and tubs in the town centre to long flower arrangements along ugly central reservations. In all of the towns I’ve driven through, I’ve never seen prettier or better maintained roundabouts than ours.
T W O – GREEN SPACE/ACTIVITY
There is always stuff going on outside. From ranger activities at Ham Hill or Yeovil Country Park to sports at Mudford Rec.
Mudford Rec – for Crazy Golf, Pitch & Putt, Athletics, Hockey, Football and a play park.
Yeovil Country Park – walks in the woods to see the natural springs, Ranger activities, cycling, walking, running, dog walking and watching the ducks
‘The Beach’ at St John’s outside leisure space in the town centre
Sydney Gardens a beautiful park just outside the town centre
T H R E E – LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Where do you want to go?
We are 24 miles from the nearest beach. West Bay (Broadchurch), Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Lulworth Cove, we are literally a stones throw from the Jurassic Coast and Broadchurch country.
Literally on our doorstep: we have immediate access to cycle paths, public paths, country pubs, Ham Hill, Montacute House I really could go on and on.
F O U R – GIANT KILLER FOOTBALL CLUB
We may be small but we are mighty.
F I V E – ST JOHN’S CHURCH
Stunning church right in the centre of town known as the “The Lantern of the West”.
Recent stone work has shone a light on this beautiful building. In the churchyard is a green space the locals call ‘The Beach’ because it’s where everyone goes when the sun is out. I’d love to see more live music/festivals and atmosphere in this space.
S I X – PEOPLE
We’re real and we’re hard working, no hoity toity stuff here. Small business thrive here too.
S E V E N – INDUSTRY
Some Nationwide and Worldwide companies have their roots established in Yeovil.
Pittards / AgustaWestland / Screwfix / ToolStation are just a few businesses that started from humble beginnings in Yeovil and now compete with the biggest and best in the country, indeed in the world.
Yeovil boasts a low unemployment rate. Industry isn’t always pretty but it gets stuff done.
E I G H T – SOMERSET
We are located in Somerset! Synonymous with major county cricket club, Glastonbury Festival, Bath City and Cheddar Gorge.
Somerset is a beautiful county with stunning countryside. National Trust properties abound (Montacute House / Lytes Cary / Barrington Court are the nearest) and the beach and coastline are on our doorstep.
N I N E – TOWN CENTRE
We have everything we need in our town centre. I really love the view from the Quedam Shopping Centre looking towards St John’s and the beach.
I would love to see the old market transformed for the good of the whole community and to attract people from out of town.
When I think back to when there was an amazing atmosphere in the town centre it was when the cattle market was still being used, the football club was right in the centre and the TV station based in the Quedam Shopping Centre. All of these things generated buzz and it’s since we moved everything out of the centre that we lost that atmosphere over time. I think it’s high time we got that buzz back, don’t you?
T E N – UNIQUE
We are unique. A small market town within a beautiful county with a lot going for it, we’re an industrial town with our roots in the countryside. It’s time we celebrated our uniqueness, there’s nowhere in the country quite like it.
Are you proud of where you live or could you choose to love your town more? Whatever you feel about your town, be intentional and go after your dreams. We only have one life so let’s live it. Life is too short to waste in a mediocre life, so love your town more and start today.