In the latest issue of Waltham Forest News, some of the people who’ve made the London Borough of Culture 2019 programme such an amazing experience explained what it has meant to them.
Here, local resident Shobna Lowe, talks about the joy of joining the Legends of the Forest volunteer programme…
I am Shobhna Lowe, a wife and mother of a beautiful young daughter. I have been living in Waltham Forest for 35 years and had 10 great years working as an educator in the borough as well. I am now happily retired, and I now fill my time with hobbies, include dancing, rambling, and attending festivals.
I wanted to be part of Waltham Forest’s London Borough of Culture year as I knew it would full of various wonderful local events. I decided to dedicate some of my time to volunteering to give something back to the community and to meet people who enjoy living here, as well as welcoming people to our wonderful borough.
The fun started at the opening extravaganza, Welcome to the Forest, back in January. The highlight for me was the laser show in Lloyd park, an awesome start to the year. The throng of people were a joy to welcome and made me proud to be a volunteer helping them to enjoy a unique and free community event.
Further down the line, Chingford May Day Fayre was my chance to enjoy welcoming people and their pets, showcasing the natural beauty of Epping Forest and recreating the historical festival which we all enjoyed tremendously despite the cold and rain. The bonfire was stupendous and very magical, not forgetting the fireworks which were mesmerising and epic.
I was also a Waste Warrior at the Walthamstow Garden Party – a role which I reprised at Chingfest. This was very enjoyable as it allowed me and my buddy to roam around, have fun and help in keeping the park clean for all to enjoy. We were a presence in our uniform and a reminder to the public of the importance of keeping the venue clean. It was heartening to be appreciated by the festival goers who thanked me for doing the job as a volunteer.
If someone were to ask me if I’d recommend volunteering within your local community, I’d say: Yes I would – it’s so much fun and a very satisfying experience to get involved, and truly be part of a community team working together.