CROYDON RIOTS: Out of the ashes, Croydon has risen like a phoenix
The financial and emotional cost of the Croydon riots has been steep and is still being felt today – one year on.
Homes and businesses were lost, property stolen, familes divided and the reputation of Croydon shattered.
But if there is one glimmer of hope to take away from the events of August 8, it is the renewed sense of pride in the borough and growing community spirit that has emerged from the ashes of the riots.
From New Addington to West Croydon, Broad Green to South End, Thornton Heath to the town centre, Croydon’s people are joining together to create a nicer, safer place to live.
It began with the people who volunteered to clear the street the day after the violence and those who provided clothing, food and shelter to those forced to leave their homes.
And it continues with business people like Saif Bonar who saw opportunity after the chaos to help others; Esther Sutton of the Green Dragon whose pub became a focus point for the real voice of Croydon to be heard and the Reeves family whose resilience against such devastation is inspiring.
It exists in the half dozen new community groups who are giving up their own time to make Croydon a better place.
Or through the people forming groups on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to promote what is good about the borough.
Or the tens of thousands who took part in the diamond jubilee and torch relay events.
These are the real phoenixes of Croydon and it is their sparks that should ignite a new, more vibrant Croydon.
Big companies like Hammerson’s and Westfield are willing to invest in Croydon as they see it has potential.
It is time we all started to see it too.