Join the K-Team to help community
Kathy Holland, 44, and Kerrie Payton, 34, are chair and secretary respectively of the Pinehurst Community Centre Association (PCCA). They are campaigning to raise a group of fellow volunteers and take over the running of Pinetrees Community Centre from Swindon Council. Both live in Pinehurst and volunteer at the centre
KATHY Holland and Kerrie Payton call themselves The K-Team.
The two have been inseparable friends since meeting a year ago.
“My youngest went to school last September,” said Kerrie, who is married to Allen, a maintenance worker, and has three children.
“Due to the fact that my husband works I’d stayed at home and looked after the children. I wanted to do something to give back to the community. I popped into the community centre after speaking to a lady on Facebook – a lady called Kathy.
“I went to speak to Bob Johnson, the manager, and a scary lady came down the stairs...”
At this point in the interview Kathy shouted, “Stop!” and the two laughed.
Kathy said: “I got involved not long after the centre opened, in December 2011. I came to have a look and to see what I could do.
“The following August we had an AGM and pretty much everybody on the board stood down. Bob Johnson, who is an amazing man, said I would have to take the role of chair as I was the only volunteer.”
Pinetrees replaced the old Pinehurst People’s Centre, which was demolished in 2007.
The two come from different backgrounds but are united by friendship and a commitment to their community.
Kerrie is Swindon born and bred and has lived in Pinehurst for almost all of her life. Her father is an agent for a finance company.
Kathy, who is separated and has three children, has lived in Pinehurst for eight years. She was an RAF child and spent her early years in various locations across Britain and Europe. She has known challenges – near her heart is a heart-shaped tattoo bearing the initials of Jackie Pennington and the late Jenni Manners from Swindon Women’s Refuge.
“I was very young and entered a marriage which was filled with domestic violence,” Kathy said. “I can’t say enough about those women – they were pivotal in mine and my sons’ lives. It led me to want to help women in that situation, and my vocabulary now says I’m not a victim of domestic violence – I’m a survivor of domestic violence.”
Over the years Kathy has taken on various roles helping others, including being a council learning ambassador.
Pinetrees hosts everything from Neighbourhood Watch to a dentist, from a library to a lunch club and from training courses to a long list of community groups – plus discos, community parties and trips.
A recent trip to Weston-super-Mare, complete with kites for every child to fly, was a great success. Kerrie said: “I spoke to every single person on the bus, and they all said how they’d had a great time.
“Volunteering can be a thankless job but it proved to me, on that bus with all those people, that it’s not as thankless as I thought.”
The PCCA aims to bring control of the centre, which is currently run by the council, into the hands of the local community.
Both women have great affection for their neighbourhood. Kerrie said: “Pinehurst has always seen the ups and downs of life. Some people have come and given it a bit of a bad reputation, but overall it’s a good place.
“Pinehurst is lacking play parks and things like that, which is something that they had when I was a child. All I want is for my three children and other children to experience what I experienced growing up, which is a community.”
Local steering of the centre is something Kathy and Kerrie believe will put it at the heart of Pinehurst, strengthening the community – but at least six more people are needed to fulfil the council’s criteria for transferring control. Volunteers can expect a friendly welcome, full training and strong support.
Kathy said: “The council are waiting for enough people to come in so they can hand it back. Then we will be a community-run community centre. It’s such a great idea. It’s innovative. It’s exciting.”
Potential volunteers are welcome to check out the Pinetrees Community Centre’s Facebook presence or call 07943 492454.
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