Q. What first attracted you to our village as a place to live and raise your family?
A. Sawston is a very lively village with lots of shops, schools, amenities and local groups. Its excellent transport links with frequent buses into Cambridge, trains to London and access to Stansted airport made it a no brainer! Why would anyone want to live anywhere else? Sawston has it all; it’s a great place to live!
Q. How did you first hear about John Huntingdon’s Charity?
A. As a newcomer I’d wanted to make a contribution, meet people and make friends locally. I’ve since been involved with the Faulkner School, Sawston Millennium Committee and OASIS (the out and after school club). So I appreciate first-hand the issues affecting the village and how JHC can help. When a JHC Trustee vacancy was advertised, I offered my professional knowledge to the charity and was thrilled to be accepted.
Q. As a former member of JHC’s Grant Giving and Advice hubs, you gave an enormous amount of your time voluntarily. What particularly attracted you to our work?
A. Everyone deserves to have access to good information and advice so they can make informed decisions about their lives. As a trained Advisor I am always on top of key issues such as Welfare Reform so was able to keep my fellow Trustees up to date with changes in government policy.
Q. Did your support for JHC influence your professional work with Cambridge Housing Society?
A. Yes, it gave me access to local issues that inform my CHS work. In the past I have referred JHC clients to the CHS Careers Advice Service, which has been mutually beneficial, as well as CHS’s ‘Making the most of your money’ courses.
Q. Our Trustees play an important role in sharing our vision with the public and stakeholders. What, if any, changes have you seen in the type of help people ask of them?
A. Housing (or the lack of it!) has become an even bigger issue in Sawston. JHC remains keen to play a part in providing properties for rent to local people and to be able to build more houses on its land in the longer term.
Government cuts have reduced spending on local Youth provision, so JHC’s grants for Romsey Mill’s Youth worker in Sawston, along with its own Support workers, are invaluable. They are all spending more time helping people with form filling as new benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment are introduced.
Q. JHC is a unique asset for the community. Is there one single, new service you foresee it providing that will help meet Sawston’s changing needs?
A. The new John Huntingdon Centre will offer accessible, ground floor space, enabling JHC’s Support team to see more people in greater comfort. It will also provide meeting space for other services in Sawston, encouraging a joined up approach and generally increasing networking amongst like-minded local organisations. That’s got to be a good thing!