AFF Germany Director, Diane Weir (pictured below), catches up with three volunteers helping to make sure your community continues as normal despite the future drawdown…

 

SHONAH Cross has been running Mansergh Music Maestros for parents and toddlers in Gütersloh for almost two years.

WEIRShe had been enjoying weekly sessions at the group with her son when she decided to volunteer: “If you are new to an area it can be really daunting, having the opportunity to meet like-minded people in a similar situation is invaluable.

“As we get ready to move back to the UK our numbers will decrease and groups like ours will be even more vital.

“Everything feels like it is shrinking slightly and it is important to remain positive and let everyone know there is still life out there.”

Making a difference 

It’s not just the community that benefits. Ken Crowley, who is a cub leader with 1st Herford Scout Group, treasurer of Lister Primary School’s Parents fundraising group and also helps out at Herford Rhinos Youth Football Club, enjoys making a difference to the lives of Service youngsters.

He says: “It helps raise and maintain the community spirit here in BFG.

“I know that by giving some of my time it helps to give young people something different to do.

“Watching them grow in confidence and develop skills they didn’t know they had makes it all worthwhile.”

Welfare support 

WO1 Gary Walker helped to re-establish Gütersloh Giants Rugby Club, which has more than 60 boys and girls aged 4-14 attending every Sunday.

He has been busy recruiting new volunteers to ensure the club continues in the future: “I have started to get spouses involved with coaching so when the soldiers are away on exercise or deployed, we get continuity.

“It acts as another avenue for basic welfare support, parents get the opportunity to socialise whilst their children have fun on a rugby pitch.”

Ken believes anyone can play a part in making sure clubs across BFG carry on as drawdown progresses: “You don’t have to commit many hours a week or even a month, offer what you feel you can give.”

Shonah adds: “If you are thinking of volunteering I would say go for it! It’s incredibly rewarding, offers a great support network and I have gained so much from my time so far.”

AFF is keeping a sharp focus on the continuance of services for our families right to the end of the British Army’s presence in Germany.

If you are concerned about facilities closing down in your area, email germany@aff.org.uk

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