Friday, July 03, 2009

Clover Hill Community Association: Proving communities can work together and succeed

Thursday night I was invited to attend the AGM of the Clover Hill Community Association; as a group they help to develop communitiy facilities within the area and administer the village hall too. I go around a lot of voluntary and community groups in the constituency and beyond and many (but not all) are suffering from lack of membership and/or interest. Some meetings are downright depressing with campaigners, weighed down by events, declaring that it is all falling apart! Well, this was nothing like that ...

... For a start it was combined with a great BBQ which lifted spirits and the short AGM meeting became more of a social event. We were pleased to hear from Bowthorpe's Canon Simon Stokes on his recent visit to India and what Indian communities, especially some of the poorer ones, can teach us in the West. He was extremely amusing to listen to and had a great message about what we can achieve together.

So from that we were told that the Community Hall made a finanical loss and that groups who used it were shutting down. The boiler was broken and more money was needed ... but this was not a miserable whinge - far from it! People there elected a large and keen new committee. Their costs are under control and they are actively seeking new users for the hall. They are pro-actively applying for grants and funding. The deficit is being reduced. The hall is being used almost to capacity. There is a genuine sense of optimism and enthusiasm about what can be achieved. The CHCA is a model for other such groups and I would suggest that Chair Mrs Wright and Secretary Mrs Sexton are well worth contacting for advice if your group needs it.

Norwich is full of really good community and voluntary groups and we should never forget that!

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