Striking the right community balance

Our communities are made up of people with diverse interests and a wide range of age groups. Wherever you live in your district, you are part of that community and all contribute, just by being part of it, regardless of being an active or or passive member.

We all belong to a community, whether we live in a city, a large or small country town or the outback, we all share a common bond of locality, which unifies us as a community, regardless of numbers and often refer to it as our or my community.

All communities rely on input from either groups or individuals to be active and prosper, not just monetary, but in wellbeing and outlook. 

Our country communities have a wide number and range of groups and committees to suit everybody’s needs in sport, leisure and service; we are not short of something to be involved in, if that is what we want and it is a good way to feel and be part of the community.

Our sports clubs mostly have good participation levels but administration is often the more difficult to fill. It is the same with younger community groups, finding people to commit to administration positions is not always easy. We often are busy with our families and their interests and are reluctant to commit to organisations outside of that.

How many times have we said in answer to someone asking for our involvement, "when I have more time, I wouldn't mind", it seems to let us off the hook for the time being and gives us a chance to think of another excuse later, hoping that doesn't come soon.

Then there are those who find it hard to say no and over commit their time, and are often taken advantage of because of it. We often hear people say, give the job to a busy person and the job will be done. Sometimes that is true because some people have learnt to manage their time better and more efficiently but is that fair on those individuals, who can become reluctant participants and finally drop right out of community involvement completely?

Most people need to strike a balance between family, business, personal interests and community, and that is different for all of us. We all have different strengths and areas of expertise, strong communities have high participation of people in community organisations and find most community or people's needs are well met.

Roger Neild

Cleve District Council mayor