Make yourself available

If you are taking your responsibilities to the community seriously, you will need to accept that people will contact you at times which suit them, rather than times that ideally suit you.

People see councillors, community representatives and politicians differently to themselves.

As such, they have very different expectations and it is important that you always keep this in mind.

Using e-mail as a standard communication medium can be a great help. But there are still many people who prefer to speak in person or by phone, and they will expect you to make yourself available at a time that will work for them.

The idea of making yourself available is more frightening than the reality will be.

The times when you will have to go out on dark nights, early on Sunday mornings or at times you might think your community work could get in the way of other things in your life will probably be few and far between. But when they come, it will be essential that you allow as little as possible to get in the way.

The upside is that if you don’t put unnecessary walls in the way of providing access to people who want to take you up on the offer of help, people will rarely be ungrateful for the work that you do, even if it is not necessarily apparent.

If you do receive messages or requests for visits which you cannot immediately respond to properly or are for some reason unable to arrange, you should always respond and briefly explain the delay and what you plan to do.