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Guest blog: Volunteering with the OPCC

Posted: Thursday 7th July 2016
Blog: 2016

“I’m just a girl who can’t say no!” sang Ado Annie in Oklahoma, and as my singing and dancing days have never actually arrived this is all I do have in common with the indecisive songstress.  However, what I now call my Ado Annie year began with a New Year’s resolution to be open to new opportunities, move out of my comfort zone and never say “no” without good reason.  In due course an advert crossed my path, inviting applications to join the volunteers on an Independent Residents Panel (IRP) supporting the work of the Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).  Now, ordinarily this wouldn’t have even registered with me, but fresh from a sourdough bread-making course I couldn’t say no to, and the proud custodian of my very own pet sourdough starter I’ve named Bread Pitt – still going strong, thank you for asking – I was looking for my next challenge.

I’ll come back to the IRP in a moment or two, but first I want to reflect on Volunteering.  What would motivate you to volunteer?  For me the motivating factor is the debt I feel I owe to many people who over the last two decades have given up their time to enhance and enrich the lives of my family, whether that be scout/brownie/guide leader, football coach, PTA, cycling safety, rugby coach and many more.  My children are almost grown-up now, I have a bit more time to spare, and I like the idea of ‘giving back’ something to the community.  But I really wouldn’t look good in a Brown Owl get-up and I don’t know the off-side rule in football, so I was at a loss as to how I could do my bit.  That was until the aforementioned advert crossed my path; the skill set they were looking for, I had, and I could combine this with my need to volunteer.  One application and an interview later, and I was in!

By now you might be wondering where I’m going with this blog.  Well, we have just embarked on a recruitment campaign to increase the IRP numbers.  I specifically haven’t told you what we do, not because it’s covert or anything exciting like that, but because I’m hoping that since the opening paragraph you just might have been thinking to yourself, “What the blooming-heck is the IRP?  What do they do?”.  If that is you, if you are looking for a new volunteering opportunity, or if you are having your own Ado Annie year, please go and visit the OPCC website – www.avonandsomerset-pcc.gov.uk - and view the Take Part section; further details of what we do and what kind of people we are looking for, and application details can be found there, and so can other volunteering opportunities within the OPCC. Go on, you won’t regret it.

Linda Cunningham

Chair of the Avon and Somerset IRP




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