January saw me re-elected as Secretary on our village hall committee and Jon re-elected as chair. I also started as Member Pioneer with the Co-op a role which sees me do 16 hours a month linking with local community activities and groups. I get paid for this and the 16 hours is a laugh really but nevertheless it is recognition for the vital role volunteers play in the everyday life of the incredible communities around us.
In February I was also re-elected as Chair for the Friends of Loftus library. I alongside other residents campaigned heavily for the saving of Loftus library and we were successful. Now our role is to ensure we get more footfall in the library by planning regular events and activities.
During the first few months of 2019 we had considerable work donein the house, mainly the snug and large room. We had decided to use the space better by creating a dining room and back room instead of one large room. The building work was completed and the decorator started work on the snug ready for our new settee to be delivered in March.
April was a busy month with various community activities including circus skills workshop in half term organised by the Friends of Loftus Librery, the Klondike Cycle race, televised showcasing the various villages where the route circulated, including ours, Easter crafts throughout half term in the library and the village being recognised as Dementia friendly. The Scarecrow Festival preparations started and a radio interview with Zetland FM.
May saw the annual Bluebell Walk take place with the hall providing home made soup lunch for the walkers, more workshops in the library, workshops at our local organic gardening project, scarecrow workshops and youth club activitie linked to the Co-op Member Pioneer Project. One of the highlights was working with local artist Mackenzie Thorpe in a Dementia home where I led a scarecrow workshop.
June saw the arrival of our new motorbike, a Moto Guzzi V85TT. After a 10 year stint visiting the Isle of Man TT Races we had a change in 2018 and circumnavigated the country on our Moto Guzzi California. There's a tale to share - watch this space.
July was all about Scarecrows with 12 villages groups taking part. A local business Sabic donated £1,000 which enabled us to transform the hall, using a series of canvases to the world of Harry Potter. In future we will be able to hire the hall for Harry Potter themed events so the £1.000 was indeed an investment. The East Cleveland Scarecrow Festival now has its own website - currently being updated but you can find it here.
August saw us visiting the many scarecrow festivals taking place throughout East Cleveland. I am always humbled to see the domino effect our first scarecrow festival has had across the borough.
September was another busy month and an investment in Loftus by Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation. An office has been funded with plans for future community projects. I am really excited about this as I was invited onto the steering committee - watch this space. The launch event was fun!
There was more work with Co-op Pioneer projects, helping out with various groups in the community.
October saw another first - a Mental Health Awareness Day on 10th. One of my aims as Member Pioneer is to connect with groups so basically I emailed/phoned a few of my contacts and brought them together for an event in Loftus Town Hall.
November - workshops contiued throughout the month in Loftus Library and a first for the village hall. We held a Comedy Night which in my opinion was one of the best events we have ever held in the hall. One of our neighbours is a professional actress and is setting up a new companr this.
December came round all too quickly the first being the busiest in the history of volunteering I can tell you. Christmas workshops continued.
Monday 2nd/Tuesday 3rd was a huge multi-agency clean up of local overgrown woodland. In my role as MP for Co-op (member pioneer not any MP lol) I supplied tea and coffee with cakes on the Monday for 15 people and soup for 45 on the Tuesday.
Christmas dinner for the village (28 full meals) and on 7th we had a Christmas Craft Fayre with our annual visit from Father Christmas. 13th - Friends of Loftus Library Christmas Coffee Afternoon.
All in all a very busy year. Bring on 2020!