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Image: David Wilcock

Sonia Bailey

Volunteer fundraiser and education facilitator

1. Tell us about yourself - what do you do when you're not volunteering?

I'm a recently retired Classroom Assistant in a special educational needs school for 11-19 year olds.  I had been a foster carer from 1997 until 2010, when I adopted a lovely child. My qualifications are Home Economist BA(Hons), and  I have recently acquired a Level 3 qualification in teaching and training, as over the years I have taught groups of youth cooking and budgeting, which is my main interest.  Many years ago I ran a restaurant, so my expertise is in food and nutrition. 

I am a parent of four and a grandparent of two.  I believe in encouraging children and young persons to fulfil their full potential and if I can help to do so, I go all out.  I am also the chair of my area’s tenant and resident association and have sat on many decision-making committees to help make decisions and changes to enhance our communities to ensure positive, safe living. This is how I became involved with FoWG.

2. What sort of volunteering work do you do with FoWG?

I am a member of the executive committee and fundraising group as well as being a volunteer. Apart from attending meetings, seeking funding opportunities and gaining valuable training to assist in building our activities and practices in order to maintain, sustain and benefit our community, I mainly help with school workshops and events.

3. How did you get into volunteering with FoWG?

As stated, I've sat on many housing committees over the years, where I met and learned about the FoWG from the chair, Jean Kerrigan. We formed a professional relationship and I was invited to get involved, so here I am today!

4. What is your favourite thing about volunteering?

I thoroughly enjoy working with the school workshops, watching the animated faces of the young children (usually nursery and reception) as they learn about the windmill.  Their answers to questions and how quickly they learn is amazing. Being a people person, I love interaction with the variety of people who visit from all walks of life.

5. What is the one piece of advice you'd give to someone looking to volunteer?

I would say give as much of your time as you can without overcommitting. That way it will make you feel a sense of fulfilment.

6. Why should people visit Brixton Windmill and Windmill Gardens?

People should visit the windmill and Windmill Gardens because there is something for everyone both young and old.  There is a sense of peacefulness in that area and the history of the windmill is very interesting and eye opening.

7. How do you feel you have benefited from volunteering?

I've benefited by meeting some wonderful dedicated people who have the same interest as me, to improve the community for all.

8. Finally, tell us a surprising fact about the windmill that people may not know.

I've been speaking to many people out of the area and the thing that amazes them is the fact that a windmill of its age is actually producing flour!