HELEN BURTON: Hectic, but exciting times are ahead

Helen Burton

Helen Burton

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Things are getting hectic. It’s that time of year isn’t it?

Not only are we all scrambling to prepare for Christmas but the rail strike is disrupting normal life for both rail users and those of us who drive, thanks to the frequent traffic jams as a result of the extra traffic on the road. It really makes you appreciate the importance of good public transport, as if there was ever any doubt. What we need is for the government to step in, strip Southern Rail of the franchise and make it a true public service again. They must have broken the terms of their franchise agreement so there must be a way of doing this. I may not have all the details of the agreement to hand but I’m pretty sure providing a reliable train service would be in there somewhere. Remember when public transport wasn’t about profit it was about providing a service? I say put it back in public hands where it belongs.

Whilst the rail chaos continues I’m still in the process of setting up the biggest project I have ever worked on. Eastbourne Volunteers is coming along nicely and thanks to several volunteers offering to help I’m expecting the decorating at our Community Hub to be finished today. Brewers supplied the paint for free, we have already got some hugely discounted office furniture in place from Furniture Now! and thanks to a heads up from 3VA next week I’m collecting some recycled office equipment from Cat Fletcher in Brighton who should be able to provide us with the smaller office paraphernalia. It’s great how much support there is for a new community project like ours and it is becoming obvious that there is a wonderful network of resources available too.

The more we can recycle the better as far as I’m concerned, not only for the planet but for the project’s bank balance! A new development in the project this week means that when we launch the project in January we will also be launching a new community newspaper for Eastbourne ‘The Eastbourne Volunteer’. This will be a free newspaper for volunteers and third sector workers in Eastbourne and hopefully we will be able to harness the amazing energy from local community groups and help connect them in a new way via the paper. A month ago neither our premises or the paper were on the cards so it is amazing how this project is evolving. We even have our first volunteer for the project who will be working at the Hub! If you are interested in computer work, managing data, attracting sponsors or staffing the hub do get in touch. In January we will also start recruiting for the ward coordinator’s role which will be a very exciting opportunity wherever you live in Eastbourne, although we will be kicking the project off in Devonshire Ward. The bare bones of our website are in place now too, ready to be updated with data next year. Exciting times ahead I hope! Email eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com