Esme is the new PTA Chair for Hampden Gurney Church of England Primary School in the Marble Arch London BID area.
1Can you explain your role in one sentence?I have only just started so you’ll have to come back and ask me this question again in a year’s time! I think the role of Chair is about coordinating all the work the PTA does and the events we run. Our events are used to fundraise for the school, but they are also a really valuable opportunity for families to meet and mix with one another. School drop off time can be so frantic, with everyone rushing to other places. The PTA events are really important for parents getting to know one another. My role is to help them to do that.
2How long have you been doing this volunteering role?Officially I haven’t even started yet, but I have been finding my feet over the summer holidays and starting to meet a few key people, thinking about our plans for the coming year. My first official day is the beginning of the new term – Tuesday 4 September.
3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?Definitely by persuasion. I had my arm twisted by the previous Chair who knows I can never say no and love to get involved. I work full-time and wasn’t sure how I would fit in this voluntary commitment, but she has assured me it will be manageable.
4What’s the best part of this role? I am looking forward to meeting lots of new people – both parents at school and people form the community. I am sure they will have lots to share and I look forward to learning more about both the school and the area.
5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job?I am not sure if this is exactly strange, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the positive communication I have had so far with Westminster City Council. I was invited to attend a meeting about the area and felt they were really interested in the concerns of parents and keen to support us. It was really refreshing and I am excited about what we can hopefully achieve.
6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work in this role?I love camping. Our church organises a huge camping weekend in Epping Forest each year with camp fires, BBQs and over 50 people from the congregation attend. The next one is just a couple of weeks away and I cannot wait.
7What do you like about this area?The food. There are so many wonderful places to eat along Edgware Road and on the neighbouring streets. Whatever you fancy, there is somewhere to buy it.
8Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch in the local area?The Warisan Café – I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a really authentic place serving Malaysian food. They do a wonderful chicken and rice dish for just £3.50 and it comes served with salad and soup. The pickled chillies and soy sauce are delicious.
9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you?They might kill me for this, but Carenza and Sam – the previous two PTA Chairs. I saw them doing the role and wanted to get involved - I felt inspired. I remember visiting Sam’s house and seeing the boxes full of bubble mix and candy floss piled up and then going to events and thinking, you made this happen. I know they are around and will be supporting me and the rest of the PTA committee this year in the role.
10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?I would love to go to Japan. I have never been and I am fascinated by the culture. I have heard how unique it is and would love to see the country for myself.