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Digital Subscriptions > Be Kind > July 2019 > What happens when you say yes to your community?

What happens when you say yes to your community?

Natalie Leach explains the positive impact of becoming involved in village life

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.

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About Be Kind

Hello, What makes a home? Is it where your family is? The town you grew up in? Or maybe it’s wherever you lay your hat? After years of moving around to different cities, taking different jobs and making different groups of friends, I’ve realised that home can take many forms throughout your life. My nan’s house watching Gladiators and Blind Date with my brother was home. The campervan that housed all my worldly possessions when travelling in Australia was (a very tiny) home. The London flat share with my best girlfriend in my 20s was home. The house I grew up in will always sound, smell and feel like home. And I hope I still have many homes left to discover. This month I’ve read so many stories of ‘home’ – from foster parents, the elderly, my colleagues and the communities striving to make the displaced feel safe and welcome. I’ve spoken to the people who attempt to make their towns a better place for all to live in, the ones who say ‘yes’ and go the extra mile to help other people. I’ve learned about places where neighbours are friends, not anonymous nuisances, and those who are happy and comfortable living alone. A home forms part of your identity and that’s a lot more than just bricks and mortar – it’s the people you love and the community you’re surrounded by that underpin it all. Enjoy the issue, Phillipa Editor