Over the years I have used my column to highlight the significant value of voluntary-led organisations and to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the scores of volunteers we have right here in Erewash, who generously give up so much of their free time for the good of our community.
As I go about my work as your MP, one of the best aspects is having the opportunity to visit and support so many of these organisations that are run wholly or partly by volunteers.
From the Ilkeston Hospital League of Friends to Treetops and the Long Eaton Silver Prize Band, we can all be rightly proud of the extraordinary work that these people do for the benefit of local residents.
Two such organisation in particular stand out this year as they are both celebrating their 50th anniversary.
The first is Long Eaton Rugby Club who, from humble roots, can now boast the largest growth of any rugby club in the East Midlands.
Away from sport, the one thing that links us all as a community here in Erewash is our connection to the waterways.
And so the second volunteer-led organisation I want to highlight is the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association, which also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Originally formed in 1968 to save the Erewash Canal from closure, the association now works hard to maintain the existing canal network to ensure that it remains navigable to boats for all to enjoy.
In addition, the team of volunteers have restored many of the prominent features along the canal over the years, including re-roofing Sandiacre Lock Cottage, and also helping to promote the benefits of our canals to a wider audience, most recently holding the anniversary rally over the recent bank holiday weekend, which was so enjoyable.
So, if you do have some spare time and would like to get involved in volunteering locally, there is always an opportunity whatever your passion. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0115 930 0521.