So you’ll have seen on the news that the PM was in the TQ today – addressing an Investment Conference at Titanic Belfast. What you don’t know is that we had invited him to pay a visit to The Dock, to see what his ‘Big Society’ looks like when someone puts it into practice. In the end we were told that there was no time in his schedule… Pah! His loss!
Here’s what he missed: he missed a unique example of neighbours working together. The Dock and Mace are now practically inseparable – they’ve got the eats, we’ve got the seats, and hundreds of customers use the Mace-deli-bar-and-Dock-comfy-seats-and-cuppa-combo every day.
Andy from the Mace even helped out today during a particularly manic spell in the Dock, bless’im!
He missed some brilliantly imaginative ways of exploring our local heritage. The Dock was part of a great initiative during Belfast Restaurant Week – a Titanic Taste Tour, in which groups had their soup at The Dock, their starter on board SS Nomadic, their main course in Titanic Belfast and their dessert at T13 – all guided by Susie Millar, descendant of one of Titanic’s crew.
The Mace provided some delicious freshly made proper chunky vegetable broth and freshly-baked bread for the Dock’s soup course – yum!
He missed experiencing a truly, properly shared space in the heart of Belfast – young, old, local, international, Protestant, Catholic, rich, poor… you name it
He missed a place where people stop in the midst of their busy lives to do something as wonderfully simple and communal as getting stuck into a board game – in this pic the neighbouring tables are happily lost in games of Perudo and chess:
(We’ve recently invested in some new games as you can see – call in and have a go the next time you have an afternoon to spare!)
He missed the creativity of local Belfast artists – like Tanya’s pictures of Bendy Belfast, Makiko’s unique watercolours (and check out her cool home-made business card holder!) or Naomi’s knits, on sale in the Dock pop-up market:
He missed the fact that his arrival meant that most of the Titanic Belfast staff weren’t allowed in to their own building! – so they all decamped to the Dock for a brainstorming session!
He missed, in short, Life in the Titanic Quarter – the kind of community-driven, volunteer-run, imaginative, adaptable, organic movement that his Big Society is supposed to be all about.
As I said – his loss!