OVER the last year I have given voice to numerous matters connected with land, property, construction and the environment. Economics and politics have also figured quite a lot, which is not surprising given the economic turmoil that all are suffering.
As someone quipped yesterday at a Christmas lunch – yes it’s tough, but we’re still here.
Not only that but we continue to operate and remain fairly well off.
While it’s natural to stay focused on business and keep looking for new people to do business with, it is at such times as these, celebrating Christmas, the end of the old year and the start of a new year, that you get a chance to look around you.
My thoughts went to those who are not here, those who have not been so lucky and have lost their business or their job. While it is a time for giving, when we should care for each other in business and reinforce those friendships we’ve made, in such tough times we may need others to talk to.
But who is listening and with whom can we discuss matters that will improve the common good? A good place to start is the Newcastle City Centre Chaplaincy, run by my friend Rev Glyn Evans and his fellow chaplains.
The Chaplaincy supports people in relation to their working lives and provides pastoral care and support to people in commercial organisations in the city, whatever their religious affiliations – even if they have none.
They also encourage people of goodwill to care for the region and its people by helping their search for a more just and compassionate society, albeit one that is also more economically efficient.
The chaplains give support to businesses, especially where stress in the workplace affects people, such as during periods of consultation on redundancy.
Last week in association with the Syrenians, the Chaplaincy and churches held a service for homeless people at St John’s Baptist Church.
The chaplains are also having a busy time as the recession bites.
Glyn was telling me that when he came across a homeless man the other day, he stopped to talk and said to the man; ‘You’ve lost a shoe’.
The man replied; ‘No, I’ve found one’. And he was grateful to have done so. I think this puts much into perspective for those of us who take naturally the simplest things for granted. It also reminds me of something that many of us dealing in land, property and construction should always remember – regeneration and development is not about physical things but about the people in this region.
I happen to chair the City Centre Chaplaincy and have found out firsthand just what the chaplains do. It is not well known so I hope you’ll forgive me using this column to bring it to your attention.
They deserve our support and congratulations for the efforts they make to make our city and the region a more prosperous place, in the widest sense of the word. If you would like to help, please get in touch with me.
Have a very merry and happy Christmas and New Year.
Kevan Carrick is a partner at JK Property Consultants and spokesman on policy for RICS North East. Kevan@jkpropertyconsultants.com