Have you ever enjoyed a great day out at one of Browns Bay’s many community events? Perhaps you’ve attended Music in the Bays, Carols on the Green, a Sunday morning Shake Your Booty fitness session, the International Friendship Group or a Teddy Bears’ Picnic?

Did you know that all these activities have one person in common? She’s Sally Cargill, the East Coast Bays community co-ordinator, and manager of the East Coast Bays Community Project. Oh, and she’s also coordinating the Hibiscus and Bays Restoration Group and the Pest-Free Network.

Originally from Whangarei, Sally moved to Browns Bay in 1983, and almost immediately started doing volunteer community work. When she successfully applied for the parttime position of community co-ordinator in the early 90s, she seized the opportunity to “… set up a community house in Browns Bay, ascertain the needs of people of the East Coast Bays, and provide services to meet those needs, and … work with youth.”

When people are looking out for each other and feel like they belong to a community – that’s all you need.

Community development happens when people meet and interact with each other [which] builds fantastic community cohesion, making people feel good about where they live, … and … able to say, “I live in East Coast Bays – and it’s a fabulous place to live.”

I love my work! I hope to continue for as long as the funds keep coming and as long as my legs keep walking.

We’re all around the village green and it’s just the most amazing setting for community development to happen. When we’re having our Teddy Bears’ Picnic, the librarian comes over and reads stories to the kids.

The annual Cairo to Cape Town festival began in 2003. In recent years, about 20,000 visitors have enjoyed being immersed in African culture – food, music, dancing and crafts. And all that happened because people from South Africa wanted to show their culture in a positive light. It’s just been fantastic, so when people come to me with these ideas, generally we’ll give it a go.

Sally has been working tirelessly in the East Coast Bays community for nearly 30 years, and her events cater for all sectors of the community. She can often be seen at the noticeboard in the Phoenix Plaza (opposite Penguino’s) with her pink basket full of new posters for upcoming events and promotional materials from community groups. Sally is always available to help community groups with funding and networking opportunities. She has sound knowledge, gives excellent advice and has the relevant contacts at her fingertips. Sally’s cheerful disposition and positive attitude are reflected in her work.

Debbie Russell , Manager, Bays Community Centre

Sally is the driving force behind most of the community events and projects in the Bays that make it such a nice place to live. From the citizens’ Anzac Day service at the memorial to the Christmas Parade, she brings people together and instils a sense of belonging. All of these events don’t just happen; they have to be organised down to the last detail. We are grateful that we have someone with such dedication, working to provide us with events that give such fun and enjoyment.

Geoff Ockleston, East Coast Bays RSA

(First published and permission to post by ShoreLines Magazine)