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EDITOR'S BLOG: Great things are happening in Croydon, so why are so many people still depressed about being here?

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A WHILE back, via social media, we asked Advertiser readers to send us their 'Visions of Croydon'.

I was hoping for a beautiful landscape of one of this borough's amazing parks, perhaps some of the striking town centre architecture or an image showcasing the busy, bustling nature of our 'city'?

What did we get?

A toilet.

Then, some litter.

Undeterred, we tried a different approach. What do you love about Croydon? What makes you proud of living here?

The silence was, as they say, deafening. And those who did respond preferred to accentuate the negative - 'there's nothing good about this place' and words to that effect.

Today, I had another go. It's a relatively slow news day (yes, I know some of you think every day is a slow news day for us) so why not get a nice, upbeat list going of 10/20/30 (or, if you're Buzzfeed, 38.5) reasons to love Croydon.

Two hours later and we've had two responses - one of which simply says: "I suppose there are worse places".

All this follows on from an Advertiser survey at the turn of 2014, which revealed just 43 per cent of more than 550 respondents are proud to tell others they live in Croydon.

Asked to rate how optimistic they were about Croydon's future on a scale of one to ten, the average score was 5.9.

Hardly a glowing endorsement is it?

I'm writing this blog not to add to the stream of negativity nor to challenge it - I just want to get to the bottom of why this exists.

Most of us have a degree of gallows humour about our home town and will use the 'it's a dump' line as an exercise in self-deprecation. Deep down, even if the familiarity of our surroundings can breed contempt, most of us feel some degree of love or at least positvity towards our own backyard.

So why so much negativity here?

One explanation is that I'm wrong and my chosen sample is fallible. That, all in all, most people are positive about Croydon and the examples I'm citing aren't representative of the general feeling.

With respect, this is the ostrich position. If you think this, you're in denial.

Croydon DOES have an image problem.

But here's the thing. It SHOULDN'T.

I think Croydon is going places. I think Croydon is an exciting, progressive place to be right now. I think it has a better future than the past which has preceded it.

This newspaper thinks the same. Our politicians think the same. Those involved in the hugely successful Croydon Tech City, the Croydon Partnership development and various big residential developments think the same - not to mention the dozens of tireless community groups doing fine work across the borough.

But not everyone feels like this. They should, but they don't.

And this is the challenge. Croydon is trying to change the reality, but there's also a need to alter the perception - not just for outsiders looking in, but also a little closer to home.

The two things will probably go hand in hand and over time, as more tangible change becomes apparent, so the disengaged and disheartened will get on side and feel some semblance of civic pride.

The key to this though, is to admit we have a problem, rather than dismissing the negativity as somehow being the ramblings of a  moany minority.

We all have a role to play in this - the council, our residents, heck even the local newspaper.

And if we get it right, maybe the overriding perception of Croydon will one day become something more flattering than a disused lavatory.

Do you have some positive views about Croydon? And what do you think about Glenn's comments? E-mail glenn.ebrey@croydonadvertiser.co.uk

EDITOR'S BLOG: Great things are happening in Croydon, so why are so many people still depressed about being here?


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