Why I’m carrying the Olympic torch

My name is Vikki Blake and I live in Cottingley Hall. On June the 24th I will be carrying the Olympic Torch. I’ve started my own blog: ‘Vicky – Olympic Torchbearer’ to highlight my training. Here is my story …

I moved on to the Cottingley Hall estate in June 2001. I didn’t know anyone at all. I got a job at a local supermarket and made some friends although none of them lived on my estate.

I got to know people to say ‘hello’ to and maybe have a chat with in the street, but no real friends around here. I felt there was no community spirit.

In January 2005 I had my first beautiful daughter. After having her I had a lot of support from the health visitor. I asked if there was any child parent places I could go to on the estate she told me a couple in Beeston and Holbec but said there wasn’t any in Cottingley Hall.

In June 2007 I had my second beautiful little girl. It was then I decided to investigate myself what was on offer, as if there wasn’t anything I would start something up myself. I found the local children’s centre had a morning for new parents and pregnant ladies, so off I went with both girls.

I met some wonderful people who live on the estate and I am still friends with them now.

This situation got me thinking what was on offer on this estate as over the years I hadn’t heard of anything. There wasn’t even a park to take the kids to, only a skate park for the older kids. I attended a community meeting called TRAC. The first one I attended I voiced my opinion about the lack of facilitates for the young children. I got the reply back “we have spoken to the children off the estate and they wanted a skate park which we have got them. Also the last park was burnt down”.

I wasn’t happy with that and I wanted to do something for the kids, for the new people to make it easier to meet people and for the elderly at the residential home – something that would benefit everyone on the estate.

My friend came to a TRAC meeting and it happened to be the AGM. We both joined the committee and have now been on the TRAC committee for four years now.

We have fought for a youth group and with the help from the church we have succeeded in that. There is now a youth group on the Cottingley Hall Estate. We organise and run a coffee morning (helped by TRAC and Aire Valley Homes) at the local residential home. Now the residents have organised their own evening bingo sessions, a ladies night, and a men’s night as well as our coffee mornings. Before they didn’t have any activities to do.

I have been involved in clean up days on the estate.

I am planning on other events held on the estate to bring everyone together and have a good time with everyone who lives here.

April is Autism Awareness month. Last year for the first time my friend and I did a few events on the estate to raise awareness of autism. The support we got from the residents was overwhelming. The Cottingley Hall estate is not a bad estate.

I will continue to do work on the estate and I will help people if they need it, I will continue to bring people together.

I was nominated to carry the Olympic torch because of the voluntary work I do on the estate.

Cottingley clean upThe clean-up is never ending, the trying to get people together is neverending, and the campaign for a park seems to be neverending. however I will not stop trying all of these things and more.

I am very passionate about Cottingley Hall and will do my best to improve it.