Day 1 – It’s raining
After the rush of the school run, and chasing the dog around the garden trying to rescue my only pair of posh shoes, I head down to the Children and Family centre. I’ve arrange to meet the Warwickshire County Council adult and family learning team. A poll earlier that month had suggested the community would like some art and craft courses and as the art workshop was coming to an end we sat down to organises Christmas crafts and some children’s Christmas Workshops. We will run these at the Village hall and I make a note to what’s app the chair of the village hall to reserve the room. 2pm- Later that day I join The community development worker on Zoom to discuss the parent champion program they are rolling out and the partnership we are forming that will emerge as a formal group with a mission to bring more family led provision to the village. 5pm- Next I head to the Village Hall, we are at he early stages of preparing to be a warm hub, we have the funding and are working to put the policies and procedure in place to make it warm, welcoming and safe. 6pm- finally I get to lay down on the job, the pilates has been a great success since introducing it and its a great way to meet new and existing members of the community. I breath in when I am supposed to be breathing out and I am convinced my stomach muscles have been replaced by a pancake! I think however being prepared to join in gives others confidence, as did the free taster day we ran in the summer.
Day 2 – still raining
My pancake hurts! Fortunately, I have a few Zooms meeting this morning to ease me into the day. I’m meeting with the newly appointed community creator from the new housing association. We talk about our joint vision for the community, and they agree to send me a funding form for our Christmas fair. I also met with one of the marketing team on the new development. We discussed the half term breakfast and using the “how to build houses” books that they donated to us a few weeks before. We also discussed how we can get the community newsletter to customers, and we agreed an article for the November edition. 2pm- Today I am also meeting with our local vicar; we meet monthly to discuss joint projects and today we will discuss a follow up little pick in the village that enables children to engage in conversations about the environment.
Day 3 – more rain!
Today I’m meeting a new parent champion to show them around the children’s centre followed by a meeting with a local sport and fitness provider. Together we are applying for some charity funding that will bring seated exercise for older adults and boot camp style fitness for teenagers, to the village. Then well, I take the afternoon off. So officially I work 3 days a week but the upside of this types of work is the flexibility it gives you and the flexibly you need to give back in order to be in the right place at the right time. Often that means evening parish council meetings or Saturday training sessions such as safeguarding or first aid. We have also held village meet and greets in the evening and I am looking forward to the school movie night that will happen in December.
Day 4 – torrential rain!
Today I will attend the support partnership meeting held in the village hall. The partnership was formed to support the growth of the village and we discuss issues that arise in the community because of the development. Our current focus is on working towards the NHS delivering a GP practice to the village and the developers are very keen to help us secure this. Later I meet a new parent who have moved into village and show them how to sign up to a children’s centre activities. I reflect on the importance of the little acts that a community champion can take and how every contact with a person is an opportunity to make a difference. It’s raining very hard today and as I walk back into the village hall holding a “Paw Patrol Umbrella” over my head I feel accepted but slightly out of place amongst the planners, developers, and local authority.
Day 5 – rain is the new norm!
I quite often have Fridays off but today I have been invited to a charity event hosted by one of the developers where I will meet the chair of the district council and the technical director of the main developer. I’m not really sure what a technical director is but I think its probably best to go with the black umbrella today and hope no-one notices the bite marks in my posh shoes. The event is to raise awareness for Guide Dogs and it is a completely inspiring and humbling experience. We meet two volunteers for the Guide Dogs one of whom lost their sight 20 years before. We ate blindfolded and its impact was obvious as we all struggled to eat, drink, and engaging in conversation. It takes a great deal of concentration to overcome losing a sense and it was a great privilege to speak with the volunteers about the experience. They later agreed to raise awareness at other evens in the village including the village centre consultations. I ask the photographer if he can photoshop the gravy off my top for the press release and step back into the rain brandishing a very grown-up umbrella! The sky seemed brighter now despite the rain and I think that sitting in the dark for so long gave me an ever getter capacity to see the light where perhaps I hadn’t see it before!