New Pioneers

Working Class Heroes.

Where are the working class heroes nowadays? We look around at the TV shows, internet pages and social media noise and it seems an endless procession of footballers, reality TV people and identikit popstars. It's an important issue as our youth need to get their touchstone from somewhere. Without role models then as children become young adults they lack reference points; they simply rely on those around them.

I recently completed a week of assemblies on the Cooperative Pioneers, the founders of the Coop movement in 1844 in Rochdale. These men were real working class heroes. They focused on an issue that was facing ordinary people, namely the adulteration offood and set out to solve it. Food was provided free from impurities and helped in the most basic and straightforward way possible to improve the health of everyday people. They had no idea that their movement would grow into the £10billion business that we see today. Their motives were pure and designed to improve the lives of the people around them. These 28 men were able through their actions to make ordinary people's lives better and society fairer.

In the Academy we see so many acts like this on a day to day basis. People who selflessly do good; give hours of their own time; and take the emotional baggage home with them night after night. And yet they come back again and again. More people need food banks; welfare cuts hit the most in need and basic housing is seen as a luxury rather than a right. It is left more and more to groups of people who have good in their heart to change society for the better.

To my staff and all who work within our community; you are the soldiers on the frontline; you are our gladiators fighting for what is right; you are the modern day pioneers.

And I for one salute you.

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