Susan Mead

A Congleton Volunteering Story by Susan Mead

I started volunteering to run a stay and play group at Parnell Square in 2018 and continue to run that for the community. I also run a day Nursery (Friendly Faces) and I started to become aware that a proportion of our families were having financial difficulties. I decided that all children should be fed and offered homegrown fruit and vegetables, Nursery leftovers and packed lunches to children over the school holidays and pandemic. 

We started a ” good as new scheme “at Nursery for clothes and toys and then rehomed items to homes that really needed it.  Over the pandemic this proved useful as families were really struggling financially and to be able to source items and food. This scheme is very popular and has provided a lot of families with help and continues to thrive. During lockdown we noticed that so many people were feeling isolated, depressed and lonely. Domestic violence was on the rise and I decided to set up a group to support people. I have worked with Julie Walker and families connected to the nursery to setup a peers support group and this too is very popular. We are hoping to keep expanding this group. We were really pleased the Plus Dane Housing  have agreed to let us use their venue for this group. I also volunteered for the Covid support run by Cheshire East and making sure that people weren’t lonely during the pandemic. This was so rewarding and I made new friends. I rang people for chats and did shopping for my elderly neighbours. Over the pandemic there was lots of stress and sad things. It was nice over the Christmas period to bring a bit of cheer to the neighbourhood. I dressed as an elf and supported Rob Morton and Callum Bloor visiting people dressed as Santa. It was so rewarding and brought a lot of happiness to the communities.

During the pandemic I noticed the flower beds on Bromley Estate were looking very unkept. There was a lot of complaints about them on social media so I decided to set up a community gardening group with the support of Rob Morton. The aim of the group was to target loneliness and improve the local area building a good community network and establishing new projects. The nursery actively takes part in these activities, growing food and teaching children about community values and good nutrition.

Overall I love volunteering and give as much time to it as I can.