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Monday, 17 June 2013

SKNPRA AGM: Volunteering and achievements

These are my Chairman's remarks at tonight's Seven Kings & Newbury Park Resident's Association AGM, based on

Getting involved in the work of SKNPRA can make a real difference to your own life and the lives of those around you. Getting involved offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around you. It also provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of your motivation, getting involved will be challenging and rewarding.

Here are some reasons to volunteer:

Learn or develop a new skill 

Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop a new skill. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.” It is never too late to learn new skills and there is no reason why you should ever stop adding to your knowledge. Planning and implementing a campaign on a local issue can, for example, develop goal setting, planning and budgeting skills. These are examples of skills that can enhance a career but you don’t have to develop skills with the intention of facilitating your career. The possibilities for developing and using new skills are many.  

Be part of your community

No man or woman is an island. We sometimes take for granted the community that we live in. People and societies co-depend on each other for survival but growth of such things as commercialism are seeing traditional values being disregarded. Communities are suffering due to the growth of selfishness in society but we can bridge that expanding gap through volunteering. Volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having an impact on people’s wellbeing. What better way is there to connect with your community and give a little back? As a volunteer with SKNPRA, you certainly return to society some of the benefits that society gives you. 

Motivation and sense of achievement

Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely.  Unlike many things in life there is choice involved in volunteering. As a volunteer you have made a decision to help on your own accord, free from pressure to act from others.  Volunteers predominantly express a sense of achievement and motivation, and this is ultimately generated from your desire and enthusiasm to help. Sometimes volunteers are regarded as do-gooders and those that hold that view also assume that one person can never make a difference. It may be true that no one person can solve all the world’s problems, but what you can do is make that little corner of the world where you live just that little bit better.

Boost your career options

A survey carried out by TimeBank through Reed Executive showed that among 200 of the UK’s leading businesses:

·       73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
·        94% of employers believe that volunteering can add to skills
·        94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills had benefited either by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted

Also, if you are thinking of a career change then volunteering is a perfect way to explore new fields.

New interests and hobbies

Sometimes we do get locked into the “rat-race” of life and volunteering can give that escape to everyday routine and create a balance in our lives. Finding new interests and hobbies through volunteering can be fun, relaxing and energizing. The energy and sense of fulfilment can carry over to a work situation and sometimes helps to relieve tensions and foster new perspectives for old situations. Sometimes a volunteer experience can lead you to something you never even thought about or help you discover a hobby or interest you were unaware of. You can strengthen your personal/professional mission and vision by exploring opportunities and expanding your horizons. 

New experiences

Volunteering is a brilliant way to get life experience. Whatever your involvement with us, you will be experiencing the real world through hands-on work.

Meeting a diverse range of people

Volunteering brings together a diverse range of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Both the recipients of your volunteer efforts and your co-workers can be a rich source of inspiration and an excellent way to develop your interpersonal skills.  Volunteering also offers an incredible networking opportunity. Not only will you develop lasting personal and professional relationships but it is also a great way to learn about people from all walks of life, different environments, and new industries. Networking is an exciting benefit of volunteering and you can never tell who you will meet or what new information you will learn and what impact this could have on your life.

Send a signal to your employer, teachers, friends and family…

People pay attention to your life outside the environment in which they have direct contact with you. For example, your employer would be interested in the activities that gives you a good work-life balance, just as academic institutions are interested in your extra-curricular activities. Volunteering reflects and supports a complete picture of you, and gives real examples of your commitment, dedication and interests. Show people what you are passionate about and maybe you will inspire them too!

Last year Peter Robinson volunteered to join the SKNPRA committee. As a result, this year we are able to tell you about the campaign for step-free access at Newbury Park Station which Peter is running. We could run that campaign without his volunteering. If you are prepared to get involved as he has done, there will be other campaigns and other issues that we can tackle which would simply not have been possible without you. So, for all these reasons when we come to elect our committee do please think seriously about volunteering.

Audrey Shorer, our Secretary, reported on our achievements in 2012/13:

Our biggest success last year was to get the public toilets in Seven Kings Park 
re-opened. They will be managed and maintained by Redbridge Vision and should be open 7 days a week. We are aware that some Sundays they have not been open but this has been brought to the notice of Vision and will be closely monitored. They are closed at the moment because the hot water boiler failed and is being replaced.

In September, the new park bench was installed in Seven Kings Park near the bridge  at a cost of £480.00 plus an engraved Traffolyte plate at £15.  The bench is made of very durable recycled polystyrene.  Redbridge Vision installed it free of charge. The Ilford Recorder did a photo shoot of the event.

In November we organised a protest meeting outside the park gate at Beddington Road against Redbridge Council’s decision to leave the park open at night. This has since been rescinded and the gates are now locked at seasonal closing times.

Our Chairman has attended meetings of the Seven Kings Ward Panel to report problems of drug dealing in Norfolk & Elgin Roads,  He has also spoken at Area 5 meetings to speak on a variety of issues on behalf of the residents.

I have reported to our Community Ward Police, problems of car repairs in Farnham Road which was dealt with. I also reported to the Cleansing Department, pallets and rubbish dumped in Seven Kings Water which was cleared.  Also reported on line via Redbridge i several incidents of fly tipping, litter and dog fouling all of which have been dealt with promptly by Redbridge Council.

The £100.00 which you voted to donate to Seven Kings Park Users Group was a great help with the initial setting up of the group towards the cost of postage, stationary and a Laminator.  The Chairman David Wynne-Fitzgerald thanked our Association for their generosity.

The Community Day on 18th May in St John's garden was a great success with several new members signing up. We would certainly like to repeat this next year.

And finally I would like to thank all those people who help with delivering the Newsletter which cuts the cost of postage.


King Crimson - Epitaph.

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