ALAN MAK: Celebrate community spirit that unites us

Alan Mak MP inside the Hayling Lions' grotto
Alan Mak MP inside the Hayling Lions' grotto
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OUR area’s community spirit is strong, but Christmas shines a light on it.

Community spirit comes in many different forms, from hardworking volunteers who make events happen to local small businesses who provide essential services.

The emergency services, who at all hours of the day respond to calls and keep us safe are examples too.

Last week I saw community spirit in action.

At Havant Fire Station, I met firefighters and heard about how they are rolling out new response vehicles and training more staff to become retained firefighters. This volunteer role is one of the most important in the community, and means if a fire ever happens they drop everything, and answer the call.

Many of the full-time firefighters double-up as retained firefighters, giving something back to the community.

Readers of The News thinking of giving something back to the community this Christmas, and live within four minutes of the fire station in Havant, Emsworth or Hayling Island should consider becoming a retained firefighter.

At the Hayling Lions Christmas Festival, it was great to see so many children enjoying the festive season. Once again it was brilliant to see how popular it was, with so many people getting behind the event, especially Mengham’s shops opening late on a Friday night.

The festival was only possible because of the hardworking Lions Club volunteers putting in the work on behind the scenes. In particular, the wonderful Christmas grotto with Father Christmas which had clearly been lovingly created over many hours, and was clearly appreciated by the excited children.

Last Saturday marked Small Business Saturday, and I visited small shops across the constituency again.

It was great to hear about the extra mile that many businesses go to give back to the community.

Family butcher CJ Meats, in Havant’s West Street for example, help towards the university costs of some of their former employees, quietly making a huge difference to a young person’s life.

Volunteering and going the extra mile make our community a better place to live and work.

I hope my three major MP community events – the Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair, Small Business Awards and Older Persons’ Fair – all make a difference too.

So, this Christmas let’s celebrate the community spirit that unites us, and makes our area a special place to live.

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