Updated: Apr 16
10th - 14th April 2023
This was my first day back at the Hub after nine days of sunning myself in foreign parts and trying to chill out without peeking at emails.
Of course this was an aim that was miserably unfulfilled.
The Hub had been closed for the long Easter Weekend which meant that I only missed out on four Hub days, however, life goes on at such a pace at number 23 that even this short interlude was filled with much work and pleasure both in equal measures.
To get back into the swing of things I was lucky enough to have the first hour as a catch-up time with manager, Donna, and to be honest I was enthralled by all that had been done in my absence...
And then the buzz began.
By 10.30am the hub was filled with fantastic work going on both in the Wiltshire Sight section and in the new Healthy Wiltshire Group meeting. This meant that there was little air space left in the Hub for all the people who seemed to decide that Wednesday morning is the idea time to pop in for a chat, coffee, advice, help - and even just a sprinkle of kindness.
All I could think is that this really is the Hub at its best.
While I was away we were lucky enough to learn that the Hub has been included in the new Wessex Water Community Connector project - an innovative programme which will see us expand our help even more in the area of supporting people who are experiencing cost of living pressures.
It is a really exciting project that fits well with all we do, but it will require the best of us, so with that in mind I have another early morning session booked with Donna tomorrow to discuss training and how we can make the most of this great community project. While we are doing that trustee Ian and a couple of volunteers will be busy with the Seniors Friendship Group.
It really is great to be home.....
With all that is going on, it is no surprise to find myself awake before the crack of dawn to put in a very early morning shift in front of the computer surrounded by the quiet and stillness of this very special time of the day.
This is quite often the more productive time of day and today saw no change to that established pattern.
Agendas were sent out to the Chippenham Community Town Development team, the Artisan Quarter, and the new Learning and Leisure Quarter, to ensure that the dates for these important meeting are in diaries. Then forms were filled in to ensure that the 'Hub Kindness Corner' at the Food and Drink Festival in July is booked in.
Fellow trustee George has also been away, and although I knew that he had only arrived back the evening before, I thought I would put a marker down when he opened emails for a meeting soon. To my surprise a return email flew back....and this was not even 5am!
My, oh my, the work really flowed - and by the time that most people got out or their beds the 'to-do' list I had written on the plane on Tuesday evening began to reduce to a reasonable level.
Alongside a training schedule, new insurance documents and many other topics were top of the list for the extended meeting with Donna at 9.30am, but this did not get going because most of the fantastic Seniors Group arrived early for the meeting on-mass.
Trustee Ian eventually closed the door on 'Ray's Room' to ensure we did not interfere with the laughter and chatter that emanated from every corner of the room with our rather work-like discussions.
The room is named after the great community influencer who helped set-up 'Waste Not Want Not' and was one of the most positive people I have ever met. Sadly he is no longer with us but his philosophy guides our basic principal that when coming through the door of the Hub we try to change negatives into positives, and attempt to ensure that when a person leaves they are on the way to solving whatever problem they arrived with. RIP Ray
To our surprise George joined us for our discussions about the 'scintillating' subjects of training, measuring outputs, and grant applications despite jet-lag and the lack of sleep after a 14 hour flight from Japan.
In the afternoon I was working on another topic that is an issue in our lovely market town of Chippenham and one that few know is so endemic - a prolific increase in cases of fraud. An afternoon Zoom with Rachel Davis, the Wiltshire Police Fraud Prevention officer, confirmed the size of this problem which accounts for 40% of all crime in Wiltshire.
More shocking than this statistic is that 80% of this could be preventable with more education and help on offer, and so we are about to embark on some joint community work to see just how the Hub can help in this area in the coming months.
Friday already, and a full house once again with the Knattie Knitters in great voice, followed by the lovely people from the North Wiltshire Friendship Group.
The morning saw a long and productive meeting with Karen the manager of the Wessex Water Community Connector project.
This really is a project that has the potential to produce so much cohesion for our lovely town and one that also promises to reap rewards in return for the effort put in order to place Chippenham at the centre of the work.
It really is great when things begin to come together and after all the action of the past few days I am ending the week with a renewed belief that we really do seem to be on track to make a difference in our town.
My final tasks of the day has been trying to get this blog up and running on the website so that we can now record events each and every week. Of course, like with most other things at the Hub, this is done with no money and limited knowledge, but a bucket load of determination so that we can hopefully dear reader, keep you informed of the work going on at the Hub from day-to-day.
**If you are reading this, my efforts will have not been in vain.....