It is ever so easy to take things for granted - even the Skills Exchange! After all it just starts to seem natural to lend a hand from time to time, or to give someone a lift here or there.

But, over the last week I have been reminded of just how amazing an effect the members can have by being so wonderfully generous of their time, their skills and their willingness to help at a time when it is needed.

I had better explain a little. Recently my friend Noel, who is not part of the Skills Exchange but has helped out a number of people in the Skills Exchange with computer problems, lost his wife. The funeral was on Wednesday and he needed help with catering for the guests who would come back to his house after the funeral.

I mentioned this to Karina and within a very short space of time, there were offers of help from people who Noel had helped, but also from others who had never met him or his wife. Everything from sandwiches to cakes, from dips to sushi, mini pizzas to fruit kebabs, from a Gazebo to an extra table to make more room - even a large industrial sized teapot was organised. Not forgetting some amazing truffles too!

But much more than that, Noel and his family friends and relatives were all amazed by the fact that this had been done by people who were showing some old fashioned concern and compassion, without going over the top.

I can promise you that your generosity has made a huge impact on people from all over the country, from Northern Ireland to the top of Scotland there will be people talking about how they witnessed a real sense of community right in the heart of a city.

I know that Noel would want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped and I too would like to add my heartfelt thanks to everyone.

Not only that, but it has made me realise once more just how valuable the Skills Exchange can be in making a difference to people's lives. It has also made me incredibly proud of knowing so many generous spirited people. Thank you all very much



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