We live in inner city Birmingham, very close to both the city centre and the Jewelery Quarter.
Where we live is a little strange really. Back in the 80s it was all nearly demolished and rebuilt. The place was declared a slum and the whole area was redeveloped. Most of the 2 & 3 storey Victorian houses were kept and the land around them developed into car parks and communal areas.
In a spectacular bit of forward thinking the developers who redeveloped our side of the road set up a private, fee paying company that every home owner had to be part of. This does mean that we need to have directors to run the company and active residents to take part in our community.
Unfortunately for me we moved here as the company was going through a really bad time. No one was paying their fees, no-one turned up to meetings and nothing was being done with the estate.
When we moved in we expected a thriving community but on turning up to the first meeting it was literally myself, Louise, 2 directors and the old woman who used to sweep the paths and alleyways for 25 quid a year.
Over the next two years we kept showing up at meetings and found ourselves getting drawn into it more and more. Also a growing frustration with the way the thing was being run was taking hold and sure enough, when the standing director moved away I was rather press-ganged into the job.
I'd like to think I've done a fair job of it.
I managed to raise the fees from £25 per year to £200 so we could pay for essential repairs and refurbishment to the car parks. We got over £40k in grants from various council and government sources to help with the refurbs and they look pretty great now.
On top of this we've had loads of general work done, gating, fences, cleaning, cut backs to alleyways and loads more.
But Wednesday night was my last AGM
I stepped down as one of the directors of Brookfield Estate Management Company.
Tell you tomorrow.