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Volunteering gives me the chance to mix with other communities

I enjoy the banter and craic of other people, it helps me keep in touch with what is going on in the community and provides me with the chance to mix with other communities.

I was born and reared on Foyle Road on the Cityside, L’Derry, but moved to the Waterside once married. I moved to the Caw Nelson area 26 years ago and am very happy here I am a mother of three and grandmother of eight! I was the former Mayor of Derry from 2002-2003 and in 2007 I retired from being DUP councillor.

I initially became involved in volunteering when I moved to the Caw Nelson area by helping to set-up a Youth Club with the help of other volunteers and the WELB. The youth club went from a garden-shed style hut to a series of porta-cabins to the existing community centre that we are in now! It was really about addressing community needs that got me involved.

I am most active as a volunteer with the Caw Nelson Drive Action Group, but I’m also a Board member for Foyle Women’s Information Network and the Londonderry YMCA, I sit on the steering group for Women into Public Life, am on the Board of Governors for two local primary schools, am the Vice-Chair for the Churchill Flute Band and am the co-ordinator for an over 50s holiday project which is cross-border and cross-community. From time to time I volunteer with the Salvation Army too.

I enjoy the banter and craic of other people, it helps me keep in touch with what is going on in the community and provides me with the chance to mix with other communities.

Get up and go join a community group, or at least support something (an event, fundraiser) being organised in your community, this is a great way of becoming involved irrespective of the personalities .From experience, I know how volunteering has benefited those in my own community, by keeping them active and giving them a purpose, people feel physically and mentally better! Think about getting involved with a Church group. Take the first step and the world is your oyster.

Mildred Garfield