I love Luton – I always have – and Lutonians are very lucky they live there, writes Development Manager Caron Kendall.
Although from the bitter north, I came to Luton for the first time in my early 20’s very many years ago for an interview with Whitbread Plc for an assistant manager’s job with Beefeater Steakhouses. I remember having a coffee upstairs in the Arndale shopping centre (now the Mall) in a café in the top floor, Greenfields, it is still there!
I came back to Luton for another interview to do a HND in Business Studies six years later at the then Luton College of Higher Education. In those days there was no such thing as UCAS and you applied individually and directly to the institutions for Higher. I had offers form 5 other institutions – I got as far as Luton and went no further. I fell in love with the place then.
My first years in Bedfordshire were spent in Luton and I have never moved out of the county since. It was from what turned into the University of Bedfordshire that my life became really good. After my HND I got my first job in PR with a local Luton Consultancy at which I had done a stint of work experience. I also did some teaching at the College and I met my husband there too.
Although we moved further north to Bedford for a number of years. We are now back in the south of county even though the village I live in is 10 miles away from the centre, I still feel a sense of homecoming.
Luton is great. It is one of the four super-diverse places outside London along with Birmingham, Slough, and Leicester and I wouldn’t have it any other way. One hundred and forty-two different languages are spoken and there is a sense of community like no other.
This is what the Community Awards are about that FSB Bedfordshire sponsor each year. As well as being joint partners in the Luton Curry Club which brings, businesses, the community and local government together and this is where you get the best curries!
About 60 people turn up on the last Thursday of the month. We work in partnership with Luton Community Charity to put on this monthly meeting which has support from everybody from the Mayor, the High Sherriff and large businesses such as GM and the Football Club.
Trying to ensure that the sense of community cohesion for this great town of about 200k souls is why locals launched the wonderful “Luton in Harmony” campaign to counteract any underserved bad press that the town gets.
In Luton, we believe in community and we believe in diversity and of course the diversity of the small businesses there makes this large town really special and something that we, as an organisation, really believe in.