Sarah Thoms – Fletcher Village’s Captains of Community award recipient
When Sarah Thoms moved to Fletcher from Cardiff four years ago, she started a playgroup to build a network for her kids – and herself.
As a mum with three young kids who had been involved in a playgroup at her old neighbourhood, she knew the benefits it could have for her family and the community as a whole.
“The reason I started it was because I was new to the area and I needed to meet people,” Ms Thoms said.
“Like-minded mothers, families and the kids need friends.”
Ms Thoms jumped at the opportunity to fill a void in the then newly constructed community centre.
Her focus for the playgroup was ensuring it was an inviting and inclusive environment that would help develop wider relationships.
“The plan was there was going to be the Fletcher Community Centre and they wanted things to be run out of it,” Ms Thoms said.
“I said I was interested in running a playgroup and it went from there. It took off pretty quick, initially we had a bout 18 families.
“I always wanted it to be very inclusive, so you could walk in and everybody would say ‘hello’ straight away.
“So you get to know people and then you start meeting those people outside of playgroup and all of a sudden you’ve got a network.”
Three years down the track and with a web of friendships established, Ms Thoms stepped back from the playgroup as her three kids had started, or were about to start, primary school.
But her community work hasn’t stopped there, she recently joined the P&C committee at Glendore Public School and is now treasurer.
Last month, Ms Thoms’ work earned her an award through a program ran by Fletcher Village titled ‘Captains of Community’.
Nominated by a friend, she was voted the winner of the program by public vote.
“It was a certainly a surprise to win,” she said. “Because it’s a small community and its growing, a lot of people know that I helped out and ran the playgroup.
“I didn’t expect it – nor do I feel I deserve it.”
For winning the recognition campaign, Ms Thoms received a $1000 Accor Hotels voucher to take a well deserved holiday.
Fletcher Village’s Melissa Chisnall said the centre was delighted to give back to those who do so much for the community and do not expect anything in return.
“It’s people like Sarah Thoms who make up the heart of the community, dedicating their time to make it a better place,” she said.
“These individuals put in incredible amounts of time and effort into helping their community groups, always going above and beyond.”
“We are extremely proud of Sarah’s commitment to the Fletcher Playgroup and Glendore Public School and she is extremely deserving of a well-earned, relaxing break.”
“We want to reward those people who are making a positive difference through their contributions to local sporting clubs, schools, charities and non-profit organisations,” Ms Chisnall said.