Tonight the Green Room at Hounslow's Treaty Centre was filled to the rafters as I explained to my audience the mechanics of Project Empower.
Now a confession - that is not quite the achievement that it might at first have sounded. The Green Room is a small committee room on the periphery of the much larger Paul Robeson Theatre, and there were enough seats - and food - to provide for the thirty or so people in attendance.
Nevertheless, it was a slightly larger attendance than we'd anticipated from this first of three "satellite" meetings which had been arranged to compliment the launch of the Project at last weekend's HFTRA Conference and, more importantly still, those assembled were uniformly enthusiastic about the Project and what it is already being understood to symbolise.
Some great ideas were forthcoming, not least from a large contingent of tenants from Heston, and a real sense of purpose pervaded the short meeting as it broke up into discussions between small groups of residents and officers who, along with myself, were engaging with the residents at close quarters.
This is the environment in which I feel most at home, meeting new people and interacting with the community which it is my privilege to represent. With the greatest of respect both to senior officers of the council and to my Executive colleagues, meetings such as this are, to me, worth a hundred sittings of the Executive or one-to-ones in a remote office discussing the latest Report. This is what it is truly about.
What I also picked up was the real warmth and passion with which officers, in this case from Hounslow Homes, were embracing this work. I know that at least some of the people involved not very long ago were less enthusiastic about my management of the portfolio area. I don't think I'm being naive when I say I sensed something very, very different this evening as Project Empower was being rolled out before another group of residents.
Tomorrow is Annual Borough Council and as always, if the voting goes right, there is likely to be a slight shuffling of the pack. It provides a stark reminder of the speed with which a term of office comes and goes and, this being the last such meeting before the next local elections, heralds an urgency about work still to be done.