It’s great at this time of year to catch up with some of the local volunteer groups, and I’ve been reminded by two recent visits I made of how much can be achieved by local people working together in their communities.
Last week I visited West Heaton Bowling ,Tennis and Squash Club. They are celebrating their 140th anniversary this year and are still going strong with more junior tennis players than ever .A social centre for the community their membership goes back through the generations. The committee have worked hard to bid successfully for Lottery Funds. They are justifiable proud of their achievements in keeping the club at the centre of the local community.
I also visited Brinnington Community Centre on Saturday where there was a party for Eric Forshaw and Bob Kearsley, two community champions who have made a big difference in Brinnington.
They have been involved with the Community Centre for 15 years and really helped to put Brinnington on the map. I have lost count of the excellent events and clubs which Bob and Eric supported at the Centre, but some stand out for me; like the fantastic exhibition which the Local History group put on in 2010, depicting the history of Brinnington, which included two wonderful textile maps created by residents of Brinnington, depicting the area in 1909 and 2009, showing how it had changed over 100 years. That project involved numerous local groups, including schools. The youngest person to work on the maps was three, and the oldest was aged 90!
Bob and Eric will be stepping back from managing the centre but will still be involved in the rich community life of Brinnington.
I see the same enthusiasm in many of the community groups I visit. I don’t think we always realise how much goes into this and how much we dependent on volunteers to help provide activities from Tai Chi to children’s dance classes, from lunch for older people to learning digital skills. It is volunteers who provide that sense of community without which we would all be poorer.