Find out more about how Sam has and still does give back to the community
Training Officer at Ipswich Sea Cadets
Sam has always enjoyed working with children and has an admiration for the Armed Forces. After a discussion at the sandwich counter at work when she worked for Willis Limited, she decided to pop along to the Ipswich Sea Cadets Unit to have a look out of curiosity. After seeing how responsible the young adults were and how the Cadets operated she knew she had to be a part of this and volunteered her time as the Training Officer. Sam has a fear of open water and at the time couldn’t swim but the cadets still took her out on the water promising to look after her. She formed an incredible bond with the staff and Cadets. Spending her time there was the highlight of her week. A part of her heart will always be at the Sea Cadets, this is where she gained the confidence to pursue her dream of joining the British Army, so she left the Unit to join the Territorial Army. But of course has always kept in touch with the unit and supported them when ever she can.
Sam's time in the Territorial Army
When Sam was a school child, the horrific events of 9/11 effected her so deeply she made a decision that she would one day join the British Army to defend her country against the threat of Terrorism. That day had a long lasting impact on her and when she was 19 she joined the Territorial Army for the 36 (eastern) Signals Regiment. She wore the uniform with pride and trained hard. The experience of being part of the greatest army in the world was life changing. She pushed herself to the extreme and learned how resilient she could be. Sam traveled to Belgium and Germany on exercises but her proudest moment was participating in the Freedom of Ilford Parade. She also learned to swim for the first time during her swim test. Fully clothed in her uniform she was determined to be just as good as everyone else and despite being a non swimmer she passed her swim test by combating her biggest fear of water. That moment she earned the respect of her entire unit who applauded her and cheered her on at every awkward stroke. Unfortunately after 2 years she was medically discharged after developing Hypermobility Syndrome so her journey was short lived. But the lessons she learned during her journey will last her a lifetime.
Her community spirit
It doesn’t matter where Sam has lived, the thing that remains consistent is her community spirit and her want to give back. She believes strongly in helping others and if we all supported each other, society would be a much better place.
When working in the City she would spend her lunch breaks reading with children in inner-city schools and often worked with the children who had additional needs. Volunteering in schools has always been a passion of hers which she still does to this day. She has also been a Parent Governor at Ravenswood Community Primary School.
She has been been a Parish Council Clerk and arranged a number of village fetes and fun days including the Royal Wedding Celebration in Henley Village.
Ravenswood Residents Association
Sam is a member of the Ravenswood Residents Association and is described by the chairman as one of the most active members of the association. The RRA have played an important role in holding Ipswich Borough Council to account over their future plans to build further housing on the Ravenswood development.
They also arrange an annual Scarecrow Event which is one of the highlights of the year. Residents make scarecrows and put them out over a weekend for people to find around the development and the participants can win prizes donated by local businesses. Sam has been involved with arranging one of the events, making her own “Jack and Sally” Scarecrows with her children and her business has donated a prize in support of this local event.
Sam did make the mistake of leaving the scarecrows in her livingroom to surprise the kids in the morning after making them, but then forgot about it and managed to scare herself in the middle of the night when she went to get a glass of water. That confirmed they were scary enough to be called scarecrows.
Gainsborough Community People's Forum
Sam is the Chair of the Gainsborough Community People’s Forum which was set up by the Health lottery to help the Gainsborough area. £250,000 was granted by the health lottery to fund local projects and groups which will benefit the residents. The GCPF meet every month and approve funding applications, support local groups and arrange events. They also provide training such as first aid for the residents. One of Sam’s favourite words is empower, and the forum does just that. It empowers the community to improve the area in which they live in. Sam’s hard work in the forum has been recognised and so she was given the opportunity along with 2 others to attend the £100 million celebration in London, which celebrated £100mil being donated by the Health Lottery. The event was a thank you to the Volunteers and an opportunity to meet other groups around the country with the same objective.
Sam has learned a lot whilst being in the forum and believes the skills are transferable to other community groups and when she becomes a Local Councillor, in particular the idea of mapping already existing community groups.
Wildlife, Hedgehogs and the Environment
To say Sam was passionate about the environment is an understatement. She does her best to reduce plastic waste including using stainless steel straws and bars of shampoo. She also uses bamboo toilet paper…Don’t ever give her a plastic straw unless you want to make her cry. She arranges regular community litter picks and helps the Ravenswood Wildlife group when ever she can.
She is a lover of animals and adopted a mistreated dog and got her back to great health with some tender loving care. When she heard that the Ravenswood Wildlife Group was setting up a Hedgehog Rehabilitation Group she jumped at the chance to become a Hedgehog fosterer to bring unwell hedgehogs back to health before letting them back out into the wildlife. She has completed her hedgehog basic first aid, care and rehabilitation course and is now preparing her garden for the first lot of hogs this year.
Sam is also mindful of the use of leafletting and the impact this may have on the environment so she only sends out leaflets when its felt necessary and they are all printed on FSC Certified Paper