VOLUNTEERS WEEK, GLYN BALMER

To meet and greet members of the public, serve them tea or coffee (alas no Kia-Ora!) and then get to enjoy a film in a superb environment is – for me – truly made to measure.

In October 2018 I resigned as a Director of a non-league football club in Essex – some forty miles from my home in East Sussex, as the travelling was becoming too much of a headache. As my role consumed a large proportion of my (retired) week I was in a quandary as to what could replace it. The very next day (!) I saw a tweet from the Hailsham Pavilion calling for volunteers. As a self-confessed cinema nut (average 2-3 films a week!) this was kismet. Hailsham is a short jaunt from me so I went along to meet the General Manager Paul for a brief interview. It felt like coming home. Having spent many, many hours in darkened venues over the years, to be able to give back something to the community and see films for free was simply too good to miss.

Fast forward seven months and there is zero doubt in my mind that this was exactly the right move for me at exactly the right time. Karma, if you will. The Pavilion is a 203-seater 1921 cinema lovingly restored by the Hailsham Old Pavilion Society and boasts a voluntary force in excess of 170. As one who retired three years ago after a forty year freelance career in IT, servicing clients has always been at the forefront of my thinking. To meet and greet members of the public, serve them tea or coffee (alas no Kia-Ora!) and then get to enjoy a film in a superb environment is – for me – truly made to measure. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the voluntary force behind the Pavilion, every one of whom I have met I have found to be of a similar view to mine – that we get more from volunteering than the clients do! Unlike a lot of the workforce these days, every one of us has a major advantage – we want to be there. Long may my voluntary association with this superb community cinema continue.