EASTBOURNE VOLUNTEERS WITH HELEN BURTON: Last column as project has really taken off

Helen Burton
Helen Burton

I am sad to say that this will be my last column for the Herald.

The Eastbourne Volunteers project has really taken off, we have some amazing volunteers doing a great job of promoting community activity in Eastbourne and I really need to concentrate on continuing to develop our service. In the past month we have also set up The Junction drop-in centre for young people next door to our hub, and again, it needs time to co-ordinate.

I’ve been writing this column for nearly three years and during this time I’ve written about many of the issues that Eastbourne faces and I’ve shared information about groups working hard to resolve these issues. Organisations like the Foodbank, Matthew 25 Mission and the Now! Charity Group are doing the most vital work in helping our town’s most vulnerable residents, and I hope that through Eastbourne Volunteers I can do my bit to support them by continuing to promote what they do, as well as the myriad of other community organisations that are doing a fantastic job in Eastbourne.

We are so lucky to live in a place with so much happening. Living in Pevensey Bay I get the best of both worlds, I love the village life that Pevensey offers and am proud to serve on the parish council there, but I also love the vibrancy of working in Eastbourne. I grew up in Langney and had grandparents in Devonshire so Eastbourne feels just as much a home to me as Pevensey.

When I started writing my column I had just started to explore what the local communities of Pevensey and Eastbourne had to offer. Having spent 10 years as a single foster parent I was very isolated, so making the decision to ‘get involved’ was life-changing for me. So many of us have such busy lives (particularly if you have children) that we forget we need to connect to the people around us. Family, friends, neighbours and our wider community, it is all there within our reach to make the best of. If you find yourself feeling lonely or isolated as I was, it’s hard to know where to start to make those connections. That is what Eastbourne Volunteers is all about. Through our project I want to make it easy for those wider connections to form. We have information about local clubs, groups and organisations that can offer you plenty of opportunities to make the most of your life.

Our community information hub is open 10-1pm weekdays, or you can access information 24/7 on our website www.eastbournevolunteers.co.uk On the last Friday of each month 7-9pm you can also join us at one our community networking meetings at the Tesco’s community space in Lottbridge Drove. You can also keep in touch by email at eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com

Everything we do is based on making connections, with other organisations, with the community, and hopefully with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed my column over the last few years, I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it.