Get Engaged!

Well the weather was kind in the end, despite the forecasts and the 51st Carnival proved to be another huge success. Although the firework display scheduled for the opening on Friday evening had to be postponed until the Saturday because of high winds, the rains were not too heavy or prolonged and even the sun made a few appearances to cheer the sizeable crowds. The Carnival Committee received very positive feedback about the acts on show and the Music Tent was a sell out on both the Friday and Saturday night.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work of a fantastic team of volunteers. The Committee has been boosted in recent years with some excellent new blood after struggling for many years to keep the Carnival afloat. Even now they could still do with some more help and were short of marshals for the traffic on the Saturday.
Although Hornsea has a staggering range of activities and events for a town of its size it is remarkable how this can be possible when a relatively small percentage of the population is involved in the organising of them. As we visit all of the events throughout the year it is striking how often the same faces appear behind the scenes, ensuring that everything is running smoothly. The most common complaint of all the community groups that we come into contact with is the difficulty in finding new people with energy and ideas, particularly among the younger generations, who are willing to participate and help organise.
Business
There has been an initiative, for example, to improve our sea front (see HARP article on page 3) but the new Coastal Community team set up to take the project forward is disappointingly low on numbers. The Chamber of Trade which organises events to try to bring more trade into the town has seen its membership plummet and is struggling to find enough volunteers to keep the events going. The local market, also set up to try to encourage more visitors to the town centre, relies on the dedication of a handful of people who could really do with some help in setting up and taking down the stalls as well as organising events in the park to coincide with the markets. ‘Let’s Go Hornsea’ was formed many years ago to generate ideas for improving the town but struggles to find the manpower and resources to put their ideas into action. At the moment they would welcome fundraisers to help find funds to complete the Sea Wall Art project as well as people with IT and Social Media skills to run their website and boost traffic to the Visit Hornsea website which was designed to be a resource to benefit the whole community. In other areas business networking, whereby local businesses come together to find ways in which they can help each other, is proving to be very beneficial. Although running a small business can be very hard work, one wonders whether, if business owners were prepared to participate more in community events and initiatives, they would be rewarded with more trade.
Be more active
Community initiatives are important for a whole range of other reasons as well as business of course. Our sports clubs always struggle to find people who are willing to put in the work to ensure that their matches can go ahead. The new Youth Club put out an appeal for more volunteers last month and the Scouts, Cubs and Beavers have also struggled in recent years to find people willing to work with children. Groups which engage in physically demanding activities have particular problems in finding new recruits to help share the workload. The excellent HACCS scheme to produce compost from garden waste at the allotments are always in need of more help as are ‘Hornsea in Bloom’ and ‘Home Grown Hornsea’ who struggle to manage the Community Orchard with a handful of people. Even our more established charities such as the Lions, the Rotary Club and the Floral Hall are always on the lookout for more members and volunteers.
So what incentives are there for more people and especially the younger generations to become more engaged? Well national studies have found that people who participate in community activities are on average far more likely to be happy and healthy than those who don’t. As well as the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a valuable contribution to their communities they also gain the benefits of being part of a team working towards a common goal, of making new friends and of increased physical activity. Volunteering can be a hugely successful antidote to the epidemics of mental illness and obesity that we are currently witnessing.
So if you currently have any spare time on your hands we highly recommend that you join up with one or more of the many groups in the town who are in need of new members. You and the town are sure to feel the benefits! Visit www.visithornsea.co.uk for contact details of all groups.

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