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by the Scribe with the Scroll

SO I’m sitting at home, getting more frustrated by the England performances at the Cricket World Cup, when I come across an interesting article in the local paper about volunteering for local community projects. It appears that due to there being very little help being offered by the community to stage it, the Kings Langley Festival will be dropped after this year’s show.

This is a problem we all face wherever you live in this world of ours. I look at this situation in dismay as I myself have been doing voluntary work for good causes for over 20 years and thoroughly enjoy the time I spend doing this. How many times do you hear people say they haven’t got the time to help, yet can find themselves time to say watch television with a beer or two or get up to more unsavoury activities round their neighbourhoods.

I was one of these once after getting made redundant for the first time (it’s happened four times now!) and I can vividly remember sitting at home feeling sorry for myself and wondering where my life was going at 26. I turned myself around by doing something that was both one of the bravest and one of the best things I have ever done in my life – volunteering.

When I made the decision to ‘get out of the house and do something’, I picked up the local paper and saw an advert for the local town carnival AGM in a month’s time and resolved (yes it was in January!) to go. All I can remember on the day was my heart pumping at a rate of knots as I sat down amongst a group of total strangers and putting my hand up when the “would anyone like to help” question was asked. I have NEVER looked back since that day. Through starting there, I have developed skills I thought I never had, like organising fundraisers, setting quizzes, and all the while meeting people who have become lifelong friends. I have moved a few times since then, but always try to put something back into the community I live in. To get the responses I do from people pleases me in the knowledge of doing something good that people appreciate.

My situation is a lot easier than most, being single with no dependants, but doing this does not have to take over your life. Some people only do one event a year for a couple of hours rather than sitting on endless committees!

So my advice is – if you are given the chance, give it a try – you never know what might happen. I even know a happily married couple who met through volunteering and I’m sure they’re not the only ones!