“Be the change you want to see in the world”. This is a powerful statement by Gandhi, but just how often do you take the opportunity to do that?

When I’m not busy helping companies or enjoying family life. I utilise my marketing and organisation skills on a voluntary basis to help keep the cogs of local groups and organisations turning.

The Fullers award for best community event

Light up Netley

In 2015 whilst attending the lighting of the village Christmas tree, I was chatting to a friend Louise. We decided that the event was nice, but could be improved. Rather than whining or turning to social media about it, we contacted the parish council and offered to help organise the following year’s event.

The newly branded ‘Light Up Netley’ for 2016 was organised late and on a shoestring. Bemused councillors would turn up at meetings where Louise and I would empty bags of lights and other goodies that we’d obtained from generous local retailers who wanted to support the event.

We worked with local schools and community groups. Supporting the children in making lanterns for a parade down to the event. The day arrived and I walked at the back of the parade. To ensure any stragglers would arrive before the carols began. When I turned the last corner and saw hundred’s of people spilling out of the small grounds of the village library. I felt a lump in my throat that we had made a positive difference to life in our village.

In 2017 we moved to a larger site to help keep everyone safe. In 2018 Light up Netley won the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Event of the Year award sponsored by Fullers. Louise and I were there to collect the award, we were surprised and delighted by our win.

A flyer inviting the general public to Austens Abbey Picnic

Austen’s Abbey Picnic

In August 2017 we ran a very successful community regency picnic at English Heritage’s Netley Abbey. Austen’s Abbey Picnic ran in conjunction with other Hampshire events to celebrate 200 years of Jane Austen’s death.

Netley Abbey Village Partnership

Netley Abbey Village Partnership

We organised Light up Netley and Austen’s Abbey Picnic under the umbrella of Netley Abbey Village Partnership. This is now a successful Facebook page that helps keep the residents of Netley Abbey up to date on local events and happenings.

During 2020 I have used the page to organise 3 village yard sales and 1 local artist’s Craft Crawl. I find organising community events great fun and well received by the people who join in and enjoy them.

Friends of Netley Abbey Infant School

From 2015-2019 whilst my daughters attended our village Infant School, I joined the Friends to help fundraise and organise fun activities for the children of the School. From 2017-2019 I was chair of the charity.

During my time as a volunteer, I ran the annual Summer Fayre. Applied for external grants and funding from generous companies and the borough council. Organised Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day shops. Organised visits from Santa and the Easter Bunny. Plus lots of other great initiatives that were fun and inclusive to help support the school and the children within.

Whilst our main role was to fundraise, we also organised initiatives to help children that were less fortunate than our own. A uniform and school shoe drop at the end of the term was particularly successful.

The funds raised enabled the school to rebuild an area of the playground that had become dangerous. Providing children with a safe and fun apparatus to enjoy role play. We also covered the cost of a play or pantomime to visit the school annually. Enabling children that may never have had the opportunity to visit a theatre watch a live performance.

32nd Butlocks Heath Scout Group

Since September 2019 I have been working to look after fundraising for the Scout group that my daughters belong to. This has involved running events to help cover some of the costs associated with the trips that the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts enjoy.