Your town needs you

A Rye News volunteer with a rescue cat

As the editor of a weekly paper that relies on its volunteers to continue to contribute news and views from around our area, I recognised the absolute truth in Colonel Kimber’s words on volunteering, the other night.

Volunteers digging out the holes for Sussex Heritage apple trees in the Community Garden

I too, have met the same negative attitude, “What will I do if I move to Rye, what is there for me, I don’t have any friends or relations there?”

There are, quite literally, dozens of organisations in this small town, from sports clubs, to interest groups, to charities, the town council, various festivals, even this newspaper. It should be difficult for anyone to be unable to find something that interests them.

It seems a shame, therefore, that so often volunteers to help with a project or a group can be so difficult to find. Of course there are the usual excuses, “I don’t have time, because of the children . . .my working hours are so long, I can’t do anything else . . . sorry, I have family commitments . . .  never done this before and don’t know if I could,” and so on.

John Gurney (centre) with foodbank volunteers

The truth of the matter, of course, is that there are very few of us who cannot even find as little as just an hour a week, perhaps, to help. And the rewards can be great. New friends can be made, new interests discovered and it is undoubtedly the best way by far to integrate oneself into new surroundings.

Being an “incomer” myself and knowing no one when I moved here some years ago, I joined one of the sports clubs and found instant friends, a social life and an introduction to other activities and opportunities (including – probably after a glass or wine too many, one evening – being persuaded to volunteer for Rye News). I have since had the great privilege and a lot of fun meeting people and making friends from many different walks of life and who I would probably not otherwise have come across.

So however busy you may seem to be, and no matter how much you might believe, “this is not for me”, think about it – then stop thinking and go and join something in which you have an interest, and help out.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Local hero(ine?) Daisy Danger has fun with Sara Lee Trust volunteers after her on stage naughtiness in aid of the charity

Image Credits: Rye News library , Kenneth Bird , Pat Driver .


  1. Is there a central place or person where all volunteering opportunities are coordinated to enable a willing volunteer to see all areas where help is needed? Not everyone has an obvious skill or sport interest to give them direction but may still have some time to offer?


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