This month’s Spotlight focuses on Danella McGillivary who has been a resident of Wornington Green since 1981 and is fiercely proud of her community.
Having been a resident of Thompson, Paul and, most recently, Pepler House, Danella has only good things to say about her neighbours and friends. “A lot of people take for granted the good things about this community. It’s always easy to moan about what’s not right, but there’s a lot to be proud of around here,” she says. “For example, it’s a very safe neighbourhood and even as a woman on my own, I feel safe walking around here at night.”
She is equally positive about the young people in the neighbourhood. “Most of the young people around here are polite and have got respect,” she says. With a 19 year old son living at home, she has got used to having a house full of teenagers, all of whom are a tight-knit group and look after each other in the true spirit of the Wornington Green community.
Danella’s pride for her community means that she is involved in a lot of local groups, including the Residents’ Steering Group and the Community Kitchen Garden. Through her involvement in these, she says she has seen the best and the worst of the local community. “It can be frustrating,” she says, “when people are happy to complain about things, but when they have a chance to do something about it and get involved, they don’t.”
She says the Residents’ Steering Group is a good example of where people can get involved and can make a change, but that there is an absence of new faces getting involved. “It’s always the same group of people and we need to be getting more people involved,” she adds.
Her involvement in the Community Kitchen Garden has been a positive experience. The garden, which now has cabbage, lettuce, kale and mustard plants growing, has been a focal point for the community. Having just been appointed treasurer of the Community Kitchen Club, Danella hopes to be able to make more funds available for community events – cookery classes and tasting events.
She says the Community Kitchen Garden is important not just as a way of socialising, but also as a way of learning new skills and understanding more about where food comes from. “It’s good to know what food is in season and when the best time is to be eating things. Not only does produce taste much better than most of what can be bought in the shops, it also saves money,” she says.
Danella has been putting her gardening skills to good use in her own home too and now has a bumper crop of flowers and herbs. So the next time you see someone walking around the area with a fork and spade in hand, there’s a good chance it could be Danella!