HELEN BURTON: Wyntercon’s strong links to the community

Helen Burton
Helen Burton

At the weekend my daughter and I attended Wyntercon at the Winter Gardens in Eastbourne. This awesome annual sci-fi convention was perfect for my Doctor Who obsessed daughter and we both thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

My daughter had her photo taken with a Tardis and Daleks, got the autographs of Sophie Aldred (one of Doctor Who’s assistants) and Ian McNeice (who played Churchill beautifully in the series) and we also met local superstar Dalek Lumpy, who attends several local charity events every year and has his own Facebook page. My favourite experience was Dalek Lumpy offering the crowd a guided meditation. Yes. Dalek meditation, something to behold, if not terribly relaxing. Dinosaurs, Stormtroopers and zombie teddy bears, even if you’ve never considered yourself a fan of sci-fi, there was great fun to be had plenty to see of interest. What I particularly loved is that Wyntercon is a non-profit event with a strong link with the community. There were stalls there from several local charities including Embrace and Families for Autism, two organisations I am particularly fond of. Having talked to her for months over Facebook I finally got to meet the lovely Rebecca Whippy, Chair Trustee of Embrace, and I found out about the great training offered by Embrace for its volunteers. If you are interested in working in the SEN field then volunteering for Embrace would be a good start to your career. I also met Sheree Fielder who set up Capes ‘R’ Us. If you haven’t heard about Capes ‘R’ Us it’s a great business making personalised capes and face masks supporting local charities in East Sussex, particularly charities which support childhood illnesses and autism. Sheree was at Wyntercon running a craft stall for kids, so my daughter made a mask for herself while I chatted to Sheree. What struck me about both Capes ‘R’ Us and Wyntercon is that running businesses with a strong link to the community makes sense for everyone. Communities benefit by being better supported, and businesses become beloved by the communities they serve, earning themselves a loyal customer base. If you are running a business it’s something worth thinking about! My own ethical lifestyle journey took another step forward this week as I sent off the papers to form a Community Interest Company. The non-profit Volunteers Network CIC will be set up for the purpose of driving forward volunteering and I am hoping it will support Pevensey Volunteers, Eastbourne Volunteers and grow a hyper-local volunteers movement across Sussex and beyond. If you want to follow the progress of the Eastbourne Volunteers project we now have a Facebook page www.facebook.com/eastbournevolunteers and if you want to get involved you can email eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com In the meanwhile this week’s Pevensey Volunteers meeting was really great and led to some exciting ideas being put forward, and by the time you read this we will also know the result of the Sussex Life Awards. Pevensey Volunteers is among the finalists in the Services to the Community category, so fingers crossed and more on that next week!