YOUR AM WRITES: Nick Ramsay, Monmouth AM
SO 2013 HAS arrived. The end of the world didn’t happen, despite the Mayan prophecy (or some interpretations of it at any rate), though you’d be forgiven for thinking it was on its way at some points over Christmas, with the news channels’ talk of us all tumbling over the ‘fiscal cliff’.
Hyperbole aside, one thing is clear: the global economy is still in dire straits and the coming year is not going to be easy, at home or abroad.
However, every cloud has a silver lining. It’s in difficult times that we realise how much we rely on each other and the importance of volunteers doing that bit more above and beyond what is expected in support of worthwhile causes.
I was pleased to be invited to help out at the Chepstow foodbank in the run-up to Christmas.
It’s a clever idea. Supermarket shoppers are asked to buy an extra item for people in need, which they drop in the foodbank on the way out of the store.
I was taken aback by the massive generosity of local people, many of whom donated way more than one item, with one shopper donating an entire trolley of food.
It’s good to know that the efforts of shoppers, the supermarket and the volunteers involved have supported many people finding it difficult to make ends meet at the moment.
Organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau have been playing an invaluable role, since the Second World War, in supporting people who don’t know where to turn for help.
They’ve been around a long time but they couldn’t function without the hard work of a changing group of dedicated volunteers.
I recently had the chance to drop in on the fantastic new office of Abergavenny CAB in Cross Street.
What I saw there impressed me greatly. A long-established organisation manned by people of all ages, who clearly thrive on helping their fellow citizens and putting something back into their community.
And, of course, there are many more examples of volunteering happening all around us, sometimes nearer than we think.
It’s well worth getting involved if you can.
These might be difficult times economically but we also get to see people at their best.
In the words of Charles Dickens’ opening line of A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.