23rd July 2015
I may only be one person but I can make a difference
After a long flight from Shanghai to London all the weariness goes in an instant when I see my Dad and Step-Mum waiting for me at the arrivals gate. I love going home. I don’t get to go home as often as I would like but when I do it is always fantastic. I come from a small seaside town which, when growing up felt like a dead end but now I see it and appreciate it for what it is – a small seaside town.
And this small seaside town has undergone a huge rejuvenation thanks to the time and effort of Roger De Haan, the former owner of Saga.
When others saw a dead end seaside town, Roger De Haan saw opportunity.
Roger De Haan has invested a lot of time and effort and not to mention money in Folkestone. His rent schemes allow new business to rent a building on a lower rent for a few years before paying the current market rates therefore allowing business to make a profit in the early years and in turn there are considerably lower turnovers of new businesses now.
When others saw a tired and run down seaside town, Roger De Hann saw a blank canvas.
His focus on the arts has seen galleries spring up along the Old High Street and buildings themselves become works of art in their own right as well as carnivals and events throughout the year encouraging local artists to showcase their work.
When others saw failure, Roger De Haan saw success.
His understanding of the importance of education saw the building of The Folkestone Academy which has attracted passionate teachers and students alike and in turn has seen a marked improvement in Folkestone’s attainment in education league tables.
I guess it really does depend on how you see things, what your perspective is.
This is The Old High Street then and now.
I am under no illusion that at present (and probably in the future) I could ever be the driving force for change on such a large scale as Roger De Haan but as I make my way through my yoga journey I am becoming more and more aware of how much affect one person can have on any given situation and in turn the outcome and subsequent knock on effects.
Now it is time for China Part III. I am in Guilin, I have signed my contract and I am finding my feet in this city surrounded by hills. When talking about my new position with a colleague in Shanghai earlier this year, he said this…
‘What an opportunity working in a small school, you wont be just another cog in a machine you will be a person who can really make a difference. You can do anything you want, you can really make something of your time there.’
These words had the same affect as jumping into a pool of ice-cold water. I realised that I had been looking at the situation from the wrong perspective and was worrying about insignificant issues instead of planning and preparing for a wise investment of my time.
I may only be one person but I can make a difference. It may not be on a huge scale like Roger De Haan but a classroom is just as important as a small seaside town.