Volunteer Success Stories

Valerie Singleton


Hello, my name is Valerie Singleton and I am a volunteer Cafe Assistant in the Crownway Community Cafe on Mondays and Tuesdays. I am also a trustee and a member of the Management Committee which meets several times per year with the Centre Manager to discuss and make essential decisions relating to the Community Centre’s development. When the original Earlestown Baptist Church was demolished in the year 2000, I was actively involved in a fundraising and grant application group whose vision was to put a new building on the site for community and Church use (which I am also a member of). This work was completed in October 2005, with our community cafe as a main hub. It was from this date that I became a volunteer at Crownway. My main motivation to continue grows out of a belief in the value of a Centre in our community, where essential activities, services and facilities are available for use for those who need them. I believe we have now established a place where kindness, generosity and friendship exist for local people and I am immensely proud of what we have all achieved.

I’ve participated in many volunteer training courses over the past several years, including Health & Safety, First Aid, Food Hygiene, Cookery Skills, Protecting Vulnerable Adults, and more.

The volunteering I do – contributing to a worthwhile cause each week – gives me an increased sense of purpose and usefulness. I enjoy the company it brings, the friendships I make and the knowledge that I am helping to lay a foundation for a long lasting and valued Community Centre in Earlestown.

Maureen Wareing

mwareing My name is Maureen Wareing and I have been a member of the Crownway management committee since the Centre’s inception in 2005 and Deacon of the Earlestown Baptist Church. I was part of the original team that began organising and arranging events for fundraising purposes when the old Church building was demolished.

Currently, I work as a Cafe Assistant volunteer on Tuesday afternoon, all day Thursdays during our busy Age Concern Luncheon Club and help and support the Crownway team during large events, Open Days and meetings where there are catering needs.

I have undertaken several training courses over the past few years; these included: Foundation in Health & Safety, Food Hygiene, Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults, Manual Handling, Team Working and Customer Service skills.

I find volunteering a very rewarding experience – I get to meet new people on a daily basis and contribute to a bustling and successful community project of which I feel great pride in all that it and we as a team have achieved.

Beryl Finney

My name is Beryl Finney and I’ve been volunteering at Crownway Community Centre from day one. I was the Fundraising Co-ordinator for the Earlestown Baptist Church during the years they were looking for funding to build a new Church. I have been Secretary to the Crownway Management Committee since its inception and now do most of that work from home.

When Crownway Community Centre first opened I acted as Centre Manager for the first three years before we were successful in being awarded a grant for funding to employ a Centre Manager: I then gradually faded into the background. I act as Line Manager to Carol our Centre Manager on behalf of the Management Committee.

On Thursdays I volunteer in the Kitchen: Thursdays are busy because we have a Luncheon Club for Age Concern and it gets pretty hectic. I also help out on Friday evenings to give Carol a break from evening work.

I’m extremely proud to be involved with the Crownway Organisation which, under Carol Bostock’s leadership, is going from strength to strength.

Gordon Blackburn

Gordon has been associated with Earlestown Baptist Church for approximately 60 years, firstly as an active member of the Youth Club where he played Table Tennis, Badminton and helped to organise various social activities, variety concerts and pantomime productions which were held in the hall and enjoyed by Church members and local people from the community.

He met his wife Glenys in the Youth Club and were married in the Baptist Church in 1964 and both continued assisting in Church and Sunday School activities until they moved to Manchester for a few years to be closer to Gordon’s work place. They returned in the 1970’s and continued with assisting in Sunday School and social activities

After the Church building was demolished and fund raising work had begun by existing Church members, Gordon was invited to join the management committee and has been able to contribute to the setting up of the New Earlestown Baptist Church and Crownway Community Centre and continue to assist in its maintenance and organisation.

During the fundraising days Gordon went busking all over the North West and composed a Crownway Anthem which he used to sing during his busking – he raised a lot of money about £700 or more.

Gordon is a ‘time-served engineer’. That is where his talent for doing odd jobs comes in. He left industry to work as a classroom assistant at Penkford School. Up to his retirement, he would do as much as he could for the Centre and when he retired in September (I think it was 2007), the Centre became a life saver for him – he likes to keep busy and we have heard him say more than once, he doesn’t know what he’d have done in his retirement if the Centre wasn’t there.

Gordon used to do afternoon tea dances for Crownway just after we opened. That is one of the fables of Crownway. The first week we opened we had events on every day morning and afternoon. One afternoon we did a tea dance and the place was absolutely heaving, we couldn’t have coped with any more and it was really good. Of course everything was free because Beryl got a grant off somebody to put on the events. Anyway, they all kept saying “this is what we want in this area, when are you doing the next one”. We put one on about a month later and charged £2 each, and nobody came!!!! From that Gordon got the idea of line dancing – he’d never done line dancing, but in his own inimitable style, he looked into it and the rest is history.

Gordon is an asset to Crownway and nothing is too much trouble. His present duties and activities include:

  • Setting up audio/visual equipment for centre users when required.
  • General building maintenance and repair that does not require employing outside contractors.
  • Facilitates an informal computer class for beginners on a Monday
  • Runs the Line Dancing class on a Thursday evening
  • Supports the café staff on a Tuesday morning
  • Opens and closes the building on a Tuesday and Thursday evening for centre users whilst working in the café

Crownway would not be the centre it is today without volunteers like Gordon.