“Once A Rylander, Always A Rylander”

This Survive and Thrive column always tries to pick out positive aspects of our Beeston Rylands community, the people, the activities and our environment. This issue focuses on a person who is leading community focused initiatives within Beeston Rylands Community Centre (BRCA). Here she gives us an insight as to what drives her, and what goals she has for the future for the charity.

Amanda-Claire Millington was born in the Rylands, on South Road and now lives in Chilwell. She describes her childhood as being the best, with the nature reserve and weir field as her extended back yard. She went to both the local schools and was at the Junior School at the time when the ‘sheds’ were pulled down and the new building was put up. She has fond memories of the skittle alley at Plessey club, the Plessey Gala days on the field and the Bagpipe Championships!

Amanda-Claire qualified and worked as a Teacher, but during the pandemic, like many people, she reflected upon what she wanted from life, and this and ongoing mental health issues led her to leave teaching. She’s now making good use of her creative side and project management skills through creating glass jewelry, performing with the Parky Players, as well as working part time for BRCA. 

Now into her second year as P/T Community Development Officer at BRCA, she explained that whilst last year was all about rebuilding after the pandemic, focusing upon reducing loneliness and isolation, this year’s short-term plans are to make sure the community centre is utilised to its full potential as a thriving community space.

BRCA are launching a second series of art workshops in Autumn and are working to bring two exciting new youth groups to the centre, one with a sport focus and one centred around dance. She is tasked with carrying out the aims of BRCA to be a sustainable charity whilst providing activities which are low cost or free to the participant.  This is achieved through fundraising and running occasional larger community events at the centre, such as the Christmas Fair planned for November 26th. 

The charity is supported by many wonderful volunteers who give their time and skills to help us to deliver a good experience for the group members, and always welcomes new faces! 

Amanda-Claire explained that longer term BRCA plans will be managing the new community centre which is in the new housing development on the old Plessey site.

“We are currently fundraising to set up the centre with everything it needs inside, and in the future BRCA hopes to have both centres busy providing activities for the community. I remember myself how the Plessey club was a place to come together, and we hope to channel some of the memories and energy into this new space. 

BRCA want to work alongside the other local groups and organisations to provide the best experience for the residents of the Rylands”. 

When asked what “Survive and Thrive” means to her, she gave a very honest answer:

“Personally, I think it means changing and adapting to the thing’s life throws at you. If something in my life is not working, I question why? Can I change it or fix it? If not, then comes the hardest thing. To let go. Letting go of teaching was hard for me after so much personal investment, but I came away with so many good memories, and transferable skills. Working for BRCA I still get to make a difference and make a positive impact upon people’s lives. But now I have the headspace available to take care of me. And the more I do that, the more I have to give. 

The pandemic forced a period of reflection and change upon me, but now I am glad of it. I feel that there are two ways to deal with change: you can fight it- that is hard work and not much fun, or you can roll with it, say yes to new opportunities, and go with the flow. It can be hard to hard to step through the door into the unexpected, but once you feel brave enough to stick your head out and have a look it is surprising what comes your way”. 

For more about BRCA clubs and activities visit: www.beestonrylandsca.wordpress.com

To contact Amanda-Claire about bookings, events or volunteering Phone: 07897903536 or email acemillington@gmail.com

Janet Shipton (Barnes)

Rylands Community Activist