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27 MIN READ TIME

What happens when you say yes to your community?

I’ve been a parish councillor in my village in Essex for six months now. Our primary function is to act on behalf of our residents, and provide a link between them and the district and county councils. We comment on, support or object to planning applications, maintain public spaces, give out grants to small local organisations, pay for special constables to police the village, manage the allotments, and dozens of other things. We meet for two hours on the first Tuesday of every month to vote on these issues and once a year we hold an Annual Parish Assembly, where residents can also vote on particular topics. This is how I ended up as a volunteer litter-picker, too – the resident who organises the group was there and reeled me in on the promise that my kids would love the bright yellow vest and dinosaur shaped picker, and I left full of plans to teach them about civic duty and caring for your environment. So far, they have not joined me.

At 35, I’m not the youngest councillor nor am I the only female. Other than ethnically (although in that respect we represent our overwhelmingly white village) it’s a surprisingly diverse mix of people. There is retired pillar of the community, Jean who, among other things, makes teas at the local am dram performances and always brings Werther’s Originals and lemon sherberts to our meetings. Steven and Jamie, like me, commute the 55 minutes by train to London every day and have young families. Emma works for Essex Wildlife Trust and always speaks up for the furry, feathered and scaled members of our village. Mike is retired now too, but was a nurse and had a varied career in healthcare working with adults and children with special educational needs. Many of us have worked in the public or charitable sector, but what really unites is a desire to positively impact the community we live in.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Be Kind - July 2019
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Other Articles in this Issue


Be Kind
Hello, What makes a home? Is it where your family is?
IN THIS ISSUE
Grab your litter picker – it’s time to empty the town
ENVIRONMENT
Are documentaries effective tools for making people care about climate change? Kaya Purchase investigates
Not only does this wellness warrior prove just how
Armed with a paddleboard and a legion of like-minded individuals, Lizzie Carr is on a mission to clean up the world’s waterways
Look and feel great with these vegan, cruelty-free products
Plant-based milks are on the rise. If you’re confused by which variety to try, Serena Lee has all you need to know
Teaching our kids to be inclusive
Our round up of the latest eco products
THE BIG ISSUE – HOME
Home is exactly whatever, and wherever we want it to be, says Jerry Silvester
Many of us take for granted a stable loving home. We meet the people that open up their homes and hearts to those in need
With the support of her community, here is how one mother made it her mission to save the planet
Tara Bloom takes a closer look at the support and humanity displayed as a result of tragedy
Everybody needs good neighbours, and these ideas are sure to keep your community close
Think community spirit is a thing of the past? These projects prove it’s very much alive and kicking
DELIVERY INCLUDED direct to your door (or download
COMMUNITY
Natalie Leach explains the positive impact of becoming involved in village life
Marrying organic, fresh produce with plastic-free packaging, doing a grocery shop has never been so wholesome
The Norwich restaurant putting plant-based food in the spotlight
Our columnist reveals the importance of companionship
Jake Stones looks at why we’ve drifted apart from those living next door
Victoria Manthorpe on why we should revive the dying art of penning a letter
Put pen to paper with these ethical offerings
We take a closer look at some of the uplifting work done at this safe haven for animals
Natalie Morgan explains the importance of giving blood
SUSTAINABILITY
Laura Gaga tells us why you’ll find her in the reduced aisle
Phillipa Smith spends seven days focusing on the people around her
Water is all around us, but it remains one of our most
Thoughtfully made and effortlessly chic
CREATIVITY
Isle of Wight based artist, Sally Potter chats to us
Forget going global and tread lightly as you travel – here’s why your next holiday should be a staycation
Take your old furniture outside and harness some plant power with this clever craft project
Beat the blues with these delicious plant-based meals from Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen
With over 87,000 followers, Andrea Sanders uses her platform to advise on environmental responsibility and mindfulness