Swindon Civic Voice – becoming a member …
… Why would anyone do that? Sally Coles, Trustee and Swindon Civic Voice member explains what drew her in ..
All I wanted was a quiet retirement and be able to do all the things I’d planned in that retirement seminar they insisted we all went on at work. So, I made my list: sort the garden; read all those books I had on the shelf; learn how to paint with watercolours and have a go at mosaics…just like the ones we’d seen in Italy. And, of course, travel.
I had been working for over forty years and I deserved a rest. Didn’t I?
The first couple of years in retirement went very well. My husband and I did a bit of travelling, but has anyone else noticed that the older you get the harder it gets to keep up with the group? Too much waiting around having passports checked; too much heat and questionable food; and there’s all that washing when you get back after a struggle to get the suitcase through the front door. So, the cases spent more time in the loft as time went on.
I got the garden presentable and the summers have been wonderful, but I felt so guilty, sitting there thinking the grass needs cutting, or I needed to dead head the hanging baskets. Shouldn’t I be doing the ironing or the washing up?
And, yes, I did some watercolour and mosaic classes. They were wonderful and having new skills was very fulfilling. But it was a bit lonely sat in the spare room thinking of what to draw next. I did a mosaic table top and plaques for out in the garden and very nice they looked too. But I wasn’t exactly keeping active and the brain was beginning to lose its edge.
One day I was drifting my way through some Facebook trivia when I came across a page about Swindon’s Favourite Conservation Area. What drew me in was the fact that I had been born in the Railway Village and can remember playing in the “backsies” and having parties and dances in the Mechanics’ Institute.
It’s quite amazing how the brain goes into overdrive when it has a suitable stimulus. So much came back to me of my childhood that I felt a pull to help get my old stomping ground the recognition it deserved.
Thus, there I was, every day and night, until the closing date monitoring the numbers, sharing the page all over the various groups and imploring people to get behind this initiative.
It felt like a real sense of achievement when we won. And that’s what bought me and Swindon Civic Voice together for the first time.
I decided to attend the AGM where the presentation of the trophy was taking place. And I offered my services if they thought I could be of any help in their mission.
And, as they say, the rest is history. A year later I am a full trustee, Treasurer and have helped on their Swindon Civic Day 2019 and planning goes on for next year.
But there is so much more to do. I was shocked to hear about how little Swindon children know about the historic town they are growing up in. It’s worrying how apathetic people can be because they have little influence in the decisions made in their name. It’s a concern how our history is threatened by the overriding need for more housing, roads and general development.
One thing is certain, like climate change, if we do nothing the outcome will not be good for the next generations. Civic pride is a thing of beauty and together we can bring about positive change, inspire others and help ourselves be active in mind, body and spirit.
I would encourage anyone who has time to spare become a member and help us influence, educate and spread an enthusiasm for all things Swindon. We won’t realise what a heritage we have until it’s lost.
If this blog post by Sally has inspired you to help us at Swindon Civic Voice there’s more information here.