New Staple Hill Community Hub chair Andrea Reid says she is ‘coming home’.
IT’S wonderful to be back at the Hub, and particularly exciting to have been selected as the new chair.
William Lee will be missed as chair, but I’m glad he has agreed to stay on the team of trustees as treasurer.
William chaired during the pandemic, which was the Hub’s toughest period, and left a stable ship when so many other projects fell under the pressure of demand and funding cuts.
He left big shoes to fill, but I’m hopeful l can also bring something of value to the role and I’ve promised William l won’t crash the ship…and yes, we did discuss it in nautical terms!
I’ve worked in supportive roles my entire working life, and have long both experienced and witnessed the impacts of inequality and lack of social justice.
I became a passionate advocate for social justice and community projects as a result.
Training to become a community development worker was the natural progression of that experience in 2012.
Initially l began as a trustee and a community development worker at the former Kingsmeadow Community Flat, then later moved on to other local projects.
My health forced me to take a break in my career path but in 2018, l joined the team of volunteers at Staple Hill Community Hub, and fell in love with the place.
I regained my confidence as l volunteered, and was encouraged by fellow volunteers to get into politics.
In 2019 l was elected as a councillor for Kingswood. I served for four years.
After stepping down at the last local election, l returned home to Staple Hill Community Hub.
It really does feel like a homecoming. I’m a Staple Hill resident and the Hub is the project that gave me a springboard to areas of work I’d never have considered if it had been left to me.
I’m hopeful that my experiences as a councillor, particularly the challenges we all faced supporting communities during the pandemic, have honed and improved my skills, and that l can bring all that to bear in my new role at the Hub.
Certainly, my journey has made me incredibly aware of how necessary and valuable volunteers are to any organisation, and how valuable the organisation can and should be to their volunteers.
I’ve become chair at an exciting time. The Hub is blossoming after the trials of the pandemic, and coming back into its own.
The Staple Hill partnership has recently dissolved and is handing over its projects and responsibilities to the Hub.
Several of the groups have made a sudden jump from quieter than usual to pre-pandemic take up, so it’s a bustling pace at the moment, which is great to see.
The Move It Club, which is a free multi-sports activity session for children in school years 3-5, has made a welcome return after the summer break.
We also have popular new projects like the bee pollinator event and community gardening days.
Our immediate plan is to bed in the activities we have, make sure they’re sustainable and that uptake remains high, and also to repay our wonderful volunteers for their commitment by helping them grow their own skills and confidence.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community l grew up in.