Anthony In America: Day 1

In May 2009 a delegation from the City of Little Rock in Arkansas visited Building Futures East as part of their week long stay in Newcastle upon Tyne as part of the development of a ‘Sister City’ relationship.

The delegation were keen to open discussions to inform the development of policy and practice in their home city and invited Anthony Woods-Waters, Chief Executive of Building Futures East to visit and share his knowledge of tackling worklessness at a local level with similar projects and groups in Little Rock. Anthony accepted, and will be visiting various projects in Little Rock accompanied by Newcastle City Cllrs Dunn, Lower and Stokel-Walker from November 11th – 18th.

Each day Anthony will be sending us a blog keeping us updated on the projects he has visited…

Day 1

“Today was ‘Veterans Day’. Started the day at the Arkansas State Capitol Building for the ‘ Veterans Day’ Ceremony. Conducted with reverence and respect, a notable and impressive fact was the love and pride Americans clearly display for their country. Accompanied throughout the day by two great guys: Bryan Barnhouse and Bob Callans.”

“On to Central Arkansas Nature Centre. This is a state that has the most wonderful natural resources. Clearly there is a strategy that develops and effectively manages these resources so that they may be conserved and accessed by all. The centre itself is an impressive building on the banks of the River Arkansas attached to a wetlands area unusual in that it is in central Little Rock (which will be a visit on tomorrows agenda). Interesting and educative with great interactive displays.”

“Next was lunch with Carolyn Witherspoon, Attorney at Law. Entertained graciously by Carolyn in her offices we had an interesting conversation on a range of issues around planning and development as well as an opportunity for me to say a little about BFE. Joined by Vice Mayor Gene Fortson – great to see him again.”

“Finally today a visit to ‘Our House’ and an opportunity to meet Georgia, Nina and Justin. A shelter for the homeless employed, the project offers so much more and is an organisation that has values that reflect our own and therefore creates an environment  that strives for the success of its clients and their families. Definitely an organisation to remain in touch with.”

“We had our evening meal in “Does Place”. Joined by Misty and her 3 children. Renowned for its hot tamales and unbelievable steaks (that’s both size and taste). Fantastic meal, tour of the kitchen, met the staff and photos. Great end to a highly successful first day in the very good company of Cllrs Dunn, Lower and Stokel-Walker.”