Worthing Community Chest has a new Chair! Karl Allison has already been a big part of the charity, he was Vice Chair and also chaired some of our Appraisal Panels. Let’s learn some more about him and why he wanted to join the charity, over to Karl…
I love Worthing, whether it’s sunny or not. That’s why I recently became chair of Worthing Community Chest. Well, that was one reason. There were also the photo opportunities handing over a six-foot cheque, meetings in the grand spaces of the Town Hall and a free polo shirt. Oh, and something about a strong sense of civic responsibility too. Mustn’t forget that.
I wasn’t born here and I didn’t move here because I had to. I arrived in Worthing about eight years ago, saw the seafront, braced myself against the breeze and decided that it might be a mighty fine place for a bit of settling down. Having decided to stop touring and travelling around the world just as the concept of the negative carbon footprint was making me guilty of flying in the face of public opinion, I was ready to find a home.
Other places were considered. Chile, Canada and Costa Rica were options, and that was just the countries beginning with C. I had the world to choose from and I chose Worthing (Woking, Wolverhampton and Walsall just not quite making it to the final shortlist). You may not believe this, but other people have followed me here, employing the logic that goes something like “Karl’s been all around the world and he thinks Worthing is great, so it must be”. Even my mother-in-law lives here now.
But what’s not to like? I walk along the wide open front, avoiding the frozen runners and the occasionally inattentive cyclists, and I wonder how the palm trees find the fortitude to survive the icy blasts. I’m frequently astonished at the view on a clear spring morning, letting my head turn from the cliffs near Eastbourne to the hazy silhouette of the Isle of Wight in one slow sweep. I sometimes wander into the deco splendour of the Dome cinema even when I have no intention of watching a film. I stroll down the simple pier and take tea in the gloriously restored café at its end. I like the little piece of regeneration we’ve achieved at Splashpoint, even if the new sea defences have reduced the point and limited the splash.
I want to play my small part in making Worthing even better than it already is. I want our town to surprise people. I want it to exceed their expectations. I know it doesn’t have fine sand or a horseshoe bay or a sea-scaped arch or a Jurassic coast or a painted hillside or a circle of standing stones. I know it’s the national headquarters of bowling, perhaps the finest combination of boast and confession that I‘ve ever come across. I know some people still think it’s probably most famous for not being Brighton. I know Andy Murray could have chosen anywhere in the world as the comparison for his supposed dullness when he chose Worthing. He could have chosen Woking, for goodness sake, so I guess we must assume that he’s never been here on a carnival afternoon. The Rotary! The Lions! The buses parked along the seafront!
Worthing Community Chest helps to fund the things that make Worthing colourful and noisy and unpredictable and fun. We help to make music and art and parades and kites and teams and sometimes we put food on an empty plate as well. I love what we do. What do I want us to achieve while I’m the chair? I want us to get more money in, give more money out and involve more people in the process. I want to provide resources for the increasingly diverse culture of our town. I want other people to love it as much as I do. Yep, that’s it. That’s why I became the chair of Worthing Community Chest.