ONE Haverhill’s new Community Ambassadors, volunteer members of the community who want to do more to help the town become a better place to live, are appealing for others to join them.
The Community Ambassadors Scheme was launched in February following the consultation on the Haverhill Community Budget Plan, during which members of the public told ONE Haverhill that they wanted to be able to do more to help keep their local community maintained.
ONE Haverhill is an independent partnership that brings organisations and resources together to make them more effective and efficient in the town – providing ONE voice for Haverhill.
Following an appeal in the Echo, volunteers have come forward to take part in the scheme which sees each participant taking responsibility for a certain area of Haverhill in order to report issues such as broken street lights, pot holes and broken public fences, signage and pavements.
The scheme is run and supported by Community Action Suffolk and the Ambassadors are able to carry out minor repairs where they want and are able to, supported by Haverhill Volunteer Field Officer Elaine Hewes and with equipment provided by Suffolk County Council.
A community litter pick has also been organised by Community Action Suffolk and ONE Haverhill to tackle rubbish in areas off School Lane. The Community Ambassadors are inviting members of the public to join them on Saturday, June 7 from 10am to noon, meeting at Haverhill Rugby Club.
Elaine, who is a member of ONE Haverhill’s Board, said: “During ONE Haverhill’s consultation with the public, we found there were people who wanted to help and do more to keep their local area maintained. Not to do the job of the council, but to report problems and if they wanted to, and could, be equipped and supported to do so.
“It’s about supporting and empowering the local community in areas where they want to help. Our volunteers want to help fix minor problems and issues but felt they were treading on the toes of the local authorities. Now, with me as a link, we hope to build up the scheme to enable people in Haverhill to help where they want to.”
Elaine hopes to recruit up to 50 volunteers for the project who could help out with as little as an hour a month.
One volunteer, Clive White, of Chestnut Close, who has signed up to be a Community Ambassador with his wife Tracey, said: “There is lots to be done in our community we need to report roads and footpaths that need repairing but the only way the council will know that these need to be fixed is if we report them.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to pitch in and help. It’s your community.”
Dave Kennedy, from Kitten Close, said: “Although supported by Community Action Suffolk and ONE Haverhill, this is a real community project and we want to encourage as many residents in Haverhill to join. Being a Community Ambassador is really an extension of what I do in the community. I am a volunteer driver, I do voluntary gardening for senior citizens and I go into schools to help children with their reading.”
Phoebe Chamberlain, of The Pightle, said: “I joined because litter really sticks out like a sore thumb here and I already try and do my bit by picking it up where I can. I’d encourage others to join us.”
If you would like to register to become a community ambassador just email Elaine Hewes at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to complete a short form to register and then can discuss which area you would like to look after. The area can be as small or as large as you are able to help with.
Anyone wanting to join the Community Ambassadors Litter Pick on Saturday, June 7 from 10am to noon can turn up on the day at Haverhill Rugby Club. Please bring suitable warm and waterproof clothes.