One of the great advantages of being the councillor responsible for Community Engagement here in Crawley is that I often get to see first-hand the fantastic work being done by volunteers and charities right across the Borough.
The vast variety of groups, for young people, pensioners, people with special interests, people of different faiths. If you have a hobby or interest, chances are you can find others like you in Crawley.
And this creates so much social good. Social isolation is one of the greatest curses of the modern age, and loneliness can make people unhealthy. It is human nature to want company. I have visited several over-60s Groups recently and many of the elderly club members tell me how much of a difference it makes to them.
Special mention needs to go to the recently arrived “Circles Network”, based near the end of the High Street. They are a “time bank” where people who have some spare time and have a particular skill (for example gardening, or shopping) can offer their time, and be matched up with someone who could benefit from their skills. In return, the volunteer earns a credit that they themselves can redeem.
It has been a pleasure and a privilege to encourage these groups, and in many cases the council has been able to award modest grants to help cover the cost of their activities. Few things in life, alas, are entirely free and if some help from the council can pave the way to greater things, we’re delighted to help.
Last month saw the beginning of Crawley’s 70th anniversary as a New Town. We’ve been preparing a year-long programme of exciting events and celebrations.
In celebration of the town’s platinium year, the council would also like to hear from any clubs, societies or schools that want to arrange events to celebrate. Please do email your ideas to email@example.com
In addition, the council’s Open Grants scheme is now open for applications for neighbourhood action. This can include events celebrating Crawley’s 70th anniversary, so to apply for funding visit www.crawley.gov.uk/grants
There’ll be recognition as well for some of our previously unsung heroes and groups at the upcoming Crawley Community Awards on Friday March 10th. The council, with the Hawth and the Crawley Observer, will be presenting awards.
All in all, a promising and memorable year ahead for our Town.
Cllr Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush) -; Cabinet Member for Community Engagement