When I was a young child, my mum used to take me to ‘Top Club’. It was held in the United Reform Church at the ‘Top’ of Afton Drive, South Ockendon – from which ‘Top Club’ got its name – a drop in club for young and old with isolated and vulnerable people coming together in the community.
The Top Club has moved to various locations across South Ockendon from the United Reformed Church to All Saints Church then on to the South Ockendon Community Forum. Now the Top Club is held in the South Ockendon Centre once a week every Tuesday and has just recently celebrated its 30th Birthday. The members who come to Top Club enjoy a chat over a tea or coffee and a raffle. There is also a day outing in the summer and a Christmas party.
I first got into volunteering through helping at the Top Club and at the South Ockendon Forum. I volunteered when I was 17 making teas and coffees at the club and carrying out general office duties within the forum building. I still volunteer at the South Ockendon Centre as a Meeter and Greeter, helping members of the public. I also volunteer at Top Club – it’s very rewarding and I have gained lots of experience and memories and met so many inspiring people.
I have helped to plan events for Top Club. In 2014 we were invited to an awards ceremony and just recently we had the chance to attend Mayor of Thurrock Sue Gray’s parlour for tea and cake as a thank you for all the community work we do. Knowing I can put a smile on someone’s face makes me smile so I have included a photo of me and the Mayor of Thurrock, Sue Gray, of which I am very proud and she is my inspiration.