Before Christmas I was asked by the Colchester Gazette to contribute to the ‘My View’ section of the newspaper.’My View’ was published in the newspaper on Friday 7th January 2011.

Positive attitude to keep Colchester cool

Colchester has always had a vibrant music and arts scene that covers a diverse range of tastes, the options of where to go and what to do are varied, and that’s why I launched my Keep Colchester Cool project in 2009.

Colchester’s music offering is creating a real buzz. More venues than ever before are providing live music with a big focus on musicians performing original material. Last year’s Colchester Free Festival reflected this with over 15,000 people enjoying a day packed with top quality local music.

The Arts scene is consistently impressive. Both the Mercury Theatre and Colchester Arts Centre are held in high regard both locally and nationally and justifiably so. The debate about the build and opening of firstsite have filled many pages but my point is that it’s here to stay and it’s something that will undoubtedly bring many people into Colchester for the very first time. We all need to realise that once the doors open to firstsite it becomes our site, so we should put pre-conceived ideas to one side and enter the building with an open mind.

This leads me on to the Cultural Quarter; the investment into the St Botolph’s area is most welcome. Both Keep Colchester Cool and my Cool Publicity business are based within the heart of the Cultural Quarter and the much needed regeneration will attract more people and business to this part of Colchester, something we should relish.

It amazes me that so many people continually focus on what’s not so good about the town. It’s clear that many of the issues we face in our town are society’s issues and are reflective of what’s going on in other towns and cities throughout the UK. Most of us have a choice to where we live and I am proud to live and work in Colchester.   My advice is the next time you’re in town; focus on those places that bring something unique to Colchester and by supporting these you’ll be doing your bit to Keep Colchester Cool.

Ben Howard