Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Barnet PledgeBank: Kate and Wills to the rescue

So, you thought Barnet PledgeBank, which cost around £30k (some of us bloggers think), and which has been going since about Christmas yet has so far attracted only five pledges (that the council is prepared to publish - I know there have been others, and there is a FOI request in to find out how many pledge suggestions there have been in total).

You thought it was a big, fat waste of money. No, not a bit of it, you old cynic! The canny staff in Barnet council's unit for Engaging Citizens A Little Bit But Not Too Much (made-up name) - Anything Like Actual Enthusiasm or Critical Interest is to be Treated with Suspicion have found a use for Barnet PledgeBank after all.

Gosh, it's so apt you might almost think that the impending nuptials of Kate Middleton and William Windsor had been invented to save the blushes of whichever fools decided to hire MySociety at some considerable cost to produce a bespoke version just for Barnet of the usually free PledgeBank.

What is it, then, this turned cuff, this patched elbow, this darned sock of a social media site? I can reveal that Barnet PledgeBank will now be given over almost exclusively (probably), for the next couple of months, to providing a chance for Barnet residents to coordinate their royal wedding street party plans.

Frankly, don't you think that it would be easier for them just to go around and knock on a few doors, or lean across the garden fence, say?

Are people that afraid of speaking to each other these days, that they need to "find" each other through the medium of the Barnet council website? Oh, well, maybe. Never mind, read on...
The Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton will take place on 29 April this year. It’s a wonderful excuse for a street party — not only is a street party a fun way for residents to celebrate the event, it's also a great way to get to know your neighbours better.

Get involved!

Start or join a pledge to organise a street party in your road. Ideally, you'll need to get a minimum of 3 households involved. If you don't meet your target you don't have to act, but if you do then . . . party on!
Then it all gets a bit technical - bureaucratic even - with people having to fill in a royal wedding street party application form - if they want to close their street - and get some public liability insurance cover, etc.

Takes some of the romance out of it, doesn't it? No? Oh, OK.

Hurrah! A Royal Wedding! Hurrah! A new lease of life for Barnet PledgeBank! Hurrah! It's enough to make me into a royal-loving, social media-brain-addled Tory!


Mrs Angry said...

laugh, or cry? I just can't make my mind up.

Mr Mustard said...

And a £21 fee for the Council. Worth paying that if the Mayor definitely won't attend

baarnett said...

Well, I'm not so sure.

By the time of the wedding the royals may be rather unpopular - andrew may be out on his ear, since even the Daily Mail has turned against him.

I'm surprised the queen has defended andrew - if he goes under, it rather devalues the whole brand.

MickeyN said...

If 40 volunteers, backed up by a Local History Society charity of 200 or so, further backed by c4000 petitioners pledge to run a local history museum in, say, Wood Street, would Barnet Pledgebank fund said museum?

Just asking.......

Citizen Barnet said...

Exactly, Michael. The original pledge example was 'Barnet council will provide IT rooms for a set number of hours if someone will provide several hours of free training'.

The analogy is exact! But the difference is that Barnet... want to sell the building in question. So all the valuing free labour, etc, goes out of the window.

It's so much cant. They just use whatever argument suits their purposes.

All the best,

Citizen Barnet said...

Sorry, Mickey. Mickey, not Michael. We have a habit of insisting on full forms of names here in Barnet, don't you know. Thus I sometimes get called Victoria - even though I'm not!

somersetchris said...

I have just visited and I see that they are putting random streets on there. How many streets are there in the Barnet Council area and I wonder if they will put them all on there?