I finished work at Syngenta in Huddersfield in late 2019 after quite a number of years. I took some time to get work out of my system and consider what I could do with my time. It coincided pretty much with the talk of the coronavirus spreading and we were soon in lockdown. I began hearing stories on the radio of people who were isolated and I thought to myself, “Come on, you’re in a position to help.”
I put my name down to volunteer with a couple of local groups, but I think many of them were focussed on delivering food to people who were isolating. As I don’t drive, this will have made it difficult for them to offer me alternative ways to help.
As we’re moving towards coming out of lockdown, I’m still keen to get involved in something. That’s why I joined these workshops. I was curious. To be honest, I came away from the first workshop feeling a bit deflated – the woman running the workshop was marvellous and got me involved – but it felt that some of the participants had a lot more to say.
The thing is, it must be hard for people running local groups like this, so they have to talk up their group and what they’re trying to do. It’s probably less a selfish thing than them always having to try and generate support.
My favourite story was from a musician who set up a group for people to go and sing their hearts out, supporting people with learning difficulties. And I think the council gets a bad rep sometimes. This initiative can only be for the good – you’re making the first steps.
It’s easy to be critical, but I think if these guys can do something… it was uplifting to hear about the things they’re doing. I’m going to find something where I can volunteer my time and make my own contribution, however small.
Thank you to Martin for sharing this story after participating in one of our “How can more people come together to make local places better?” online workshops for Kirklees citizens.