Nottingham in positive light on national TV – again!

Hot on the heels of Gordon Ramsey coming to Nottingham, ‘The Secret Millionnaire’ made an appearance on national TV tonight, again based in my beloved home town. Incase you’re unfamiliar, the programme places a millionnaire in a community for a few days undercover, to enable them to forge relationships and – should they feel the need – make donations to causes or individuals.

I’m a big fan of the programme, whilst the cynic in you might suggest it’s an opportunity for privileged people to feel good about themselves for sharing a little wealth with the proles, from watching a few I generally get the impression that the folks who sign up for it are genuinely generous-hearted people – and I must admit, rather shamefully, that a few of the ones I’ve seen before have been touching to the point of bringing a lump to the throat.

So it was with interest I tuned in to see what they make of ‘Hood Town’ – the media bastard that it is. Of course, the opening scenes dealt with the reputation we have garnered as crime capital of the universe, although pleasingly the taxi driver who took her to her digs kindly corrected her that such perceptions are a bunch of arse. So what did our secret millionnaire make of a few days in darkest Hyson Green?

Pleasingly she starts by doing some research on local volunteer type schemes – keen to help people who are already attempting to help themselves, and thankfully beyond the introduction to the programme Channel 4 quit on the predictable shots featuring police cars with lights and sirens on, or CCTV cameras panning the streets. Before long she’s in the middle of a launderette in St. Anns – brave lady!

Of course, inevitably it is the less salubrious areas of the town that feature on this programme – just as with all the other towns – but what always resonates so wonderfully are the fantastic people who toil for good causes, their sense of community spirit and their welcoming nature in the face of an apparent stranger who is keen to get involved in their endeavours; unknown to them of course a potential source of significant funding.

The massive plus side of this is you get to hear loads of proper Notts accents, a dialect conspicuously absent from TV generally – and very badly imitated when actor types attempt it – so it’s great to see loads of ‘bogger speak’ – as Rich would call it – on national TV. The reaction of the millionnaire lady was particularly amusing, because being American the very blunt sense of humour exhibited by most Nottinghamians worth their salt was quite shocking to her – albeit in a good way, she loved it!

So there were two main initiatives she sampled on her visit, a community launderette in St. Anns which had a delivery service that covered pretty much all of Nottingham, where she met a volunteer who had been working towards mass food provision and cooking training for kids. The second initiative was ‘Independent Street’ where an energetic lady got all the local kids involved with carnivals all over the country to try to stop them from getting sucked into some of the less wholesome cultures that unfortunately pervade our youngsters.

As is often the case with this particular show, the benefactor found herself very immersed in the people and communities she was visiting – and with the dilemma of the pretense she’d been living under. Imagine if you’re a community worker who finds a volunteer, only to find they’re actually minted and want to give you a big cheque – it would be a strange thing to happen, who knows how you’d react? So you can understand the nervousness.

In the end, she gave a big cheque for £15,000 to the launderette to get them a new van – as theirs was on its’ last legs. Next up was Joy of ‘Independent Street’, to whom she donated the same amount – to a suitably extreme reaction. It’s really heartening – and whilst a programme taking in areas like Hyson Green, St. Anns, Billborough and numerous other areas might not be exactly be sending the Nottingham tourist industry into excitement – having sat and watched it, I felt pretty good about my home town after seeing it.

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Categories: blog | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Nottingham in positive light on national TV – again!

  1. pcollison

    I saw that, I liked hearing the Notts accent on TV. Plus, it was Independent Street. 😉

  2. Good spot – I’ve corrected it now, wondered why I couldn’t find owt on the ‘web about it!

    Nott’m accents are gravely underrated by the rest of the country – but that’s part of what makes it great!

  3. kate

    I hated the programme, she did nothing really, it was all waffle. 15k was a pitance! 8 days to find worthy people? It should never have been shown.

    My opinion (sorry)

  4. Seems harsh – I think the best benchmark as to whether or not £15k will make a difference is twofold:

    Firstly, the reaction of the recipients – who are almost universally overcome given their usual struggle to raise cash or pay for things.

    Secondly, the specific logistics – it would be difficult to argue that on last night’s show the launderette service provided a really important need for housebound folks, but their van was very much on its last legs. They couldn’t afford a new one. They now have one. The carnival group were washing cars to raise what is to some a fairly meagre £300 to lay on a coach to travel – how many of these, and how many costume supplies etc, would £15k pay for?

    Whilst as a % of her total wealth those amounts are small, I think they would have made a huge difference – and thus is worthy. I don’t know how much money Margaret has tucked away, but probably not as much as you’d think – and I bet proportionally it’s more than the majority of people, wealthy or otherwise, make the effort to donate to good causes.

  5. richard morgan

    I saw the programme last night and Joy is well named. She and her group radiated Joy from every part of their bodies. The young people were all that they should be. Happy, positive, enthusiastic and talented, all it needed was for a remarkable person to show faith in them. Thank you Joy your supporters and all of those from the laundrette it shows what people power can and is doing despite all the negative media hype that surrounds our society. Its up to the citizens themselves to regain their pride and motivate our young people to believe in themselves. Nottingham should be proud of those wonderful people shown last night.

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