A Week In The Life Of A Chairman – Day 1 Monday

I love what I do, it’s what gives meaning to my life, it allows me to spend time doing things that matter to me and I hope, it helps to enhance the community where I live and the lives of the people who live there. I woke this morning the sun was streaming through the window and despite having a mountain of paperwork which required my attention, I knew that I was going to spend a good percentage of my time tidying the graveyard and planting flowers to brighten it.


Picture 050Looking at how the graveyard is today, it’s hard to imagine it as it was just a few years ago with the majority of graves buried under brambles and weeds after years of neglect, but the photos provide the evidence. I remember my first visit to see my husband’s Great-grandparents’ grave; I went with his Aunt and despite her knowing exactly where the grave was we were unable to find it. Over the ensuing weeks I listened to other elderly residents expressing their distress that the graves of war heroes and community dignitaries had not been cared for and had become over-grown and hidden from view. I resolved to do something about it – it had always been important to me that the graves of my father and brother should be tended and visited and I knew how upset I would have been should they not be cared. Little did I know just how much that initial visit was to change my life giving it a direction and purpose which I am entirely grateful for – a purpose which goes far beyond the tidying of a graveyard. I didn’t realise either the impact that it was to have on the community and that what started out as a personal mission would create a community project in which to date nearly 300 people have participated.


Castle Bromwich Youth & Community Partnership is just about to launch a heritage project which will provide interpretation boards and an audio heritage walk around the conservation area in Castle Bromwich. We’re also going to record some oral histories, continue with the conservation work in the graveyard and organise a heritage festival. I spent the morning organising the training for the oral histories and recruiting volunteers to help record them. My husband spoke with his Aunt who told him about some of her friends who have lived in Castle Bromwich since the 1920s and who she felt might be willing to talk about their lives and I’ve made a note to contact them to seek their help. It’s surprising how long it takes to arrange things and before I knew it three hours had passed.


IMG_4165The afternoon was spent in the graveyard. I talked with a few residents who were concerned that weed killer was leaching onto tended graves and killing the plants and that rubbish was being removed from the bin and placed in a heap by the entrance. I agreed to ask Solihull Council to investigate and to report back on what measures would be put in place to solve the problems. I also spoke with a bird watcher who volunteered to participate in our nature watch and record the details of birds inhabiting the area. Another three hours of work and I returned home.


It’s really surprising the amount of emails and phone calls I find myself dealing with on a daily basis. Today was no exception. One email in particular took my attention. It advised me that a group of 20 volunteers were looking for a team project in the community on a day at the end of May and asked whether I had any opportunities I could offer. I responded and am now hoping that it will come to something. Castle Bromwich Youth & Community Partnership is entirely volunteer run, everything that I and all committee members do is unpaid as is the input of all people helping with our various projects.


My total volunteer hours for Monday – 8 hours.



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