More than just fishing: Volunteering at my local pond to create a lasting impact for community members

Creating a sustainable future stretches beyond conserving our environment. Supporting social initiatives through community projects also promotes sustainability by future-proofing local organisations to that can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Since the age of 12, I have been a member of my local community angling association. Sayces Pit, my local fishing pond, has been an area of never-ending wildlife, conservation, and peacefulness for generations, with an angling history stretching back to 1928.

Through my early teenage years, I had been unaware of the amount of hard work and passion that goes into ensuring the pond is safe, stocked, and fit for purpose for members to enjoy all season round. Season after season would go by, and the pond’s surroundings would seemingly never change. Unbeknownst to me, every weekend of the closed season, committee members were upgrading, refurbishing, and conserving the area so members like me could enjoy it all year round.

As time moves forward and people get older, however, the closed-season amendments have gotten gradually more difficult. As a close-knit association, the committee relies heavily on members to help with these amendments and refurbishments to the facilities. However, the demographic for the association members and committee is now typically concessions, which ends up having limitations to how much progress can be made each year.

This year, the closed-season work parties consisted of cutting back overgrown trees to bring more sunlight into the pond, cutting back bushes from the paths, clearing debris from the water, and spreading 20 tonnes of stone on all pegs to raise the level of the fishing bank, ensuring they are easily accessible and safer.

Cutting back trees is something that happens on a bi-yearly basis as nature at the pond has everything it needs to bloom at a rapid rate. It happens with the notion that they will continue to grow back until they need managing once again.

Moving 20 tonnes of stone was a little bit more grueling. It took eight people, seven hours, four wheelbarrows, two shovels, and two rakes to move the load from the roadside, up the alley, through the gate, and round the pond to each peg. A long, non-stop, hot day, made better by the transformation of the fishing bank that I know will be benefitted by so many of the local fishing community.

For an association that has taught me so much, from patience and dedication to respecting my environment, it feels good to be able to give back. A picturesque pond that is well-affiliated, private, safe, tidy, and brimming with fish has a positive social impact on all members of the local fishing community, young and old. This year’s closed season of weekend volunteering has given me an extra sense of pride and purpose knowing the benefits my peers will enjoy.

It’s a feeling that never gets tiring and it’s great to be able to give back to the same people who had such a positive impact on my own development.

Raising the level of the bank

Building on my personal volunteering journey, I organised a day of volunteering with Positive Planet. Together, we embarked on a rewarding adventure, transforming a barren plot into a community garden for our friends at Lakeside Community Interest Company. The transformation included pegging down weed membrane and spreading wood chip bark across the site, as well as building, transporting, and filling several planters, ready for sowing.

Witnessing the positive impact we made in such a short span of time left us all in awe. As the day drew to a close, we couldn’t help but beam with pride, each member of our team wearing a satisfied smile that lingered for the rest of week!

Plans are already in place for what we can do next as a team!

Transforming Lakeside CIC’s community garden
Showing colleague work on laptop | Construction

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