A Message from Scotland & Northern Ireland Director Sarah Crawford
I’ve recently moved to Fife from Manchester and been involved with CAMRA since 2009. I joined CAMRA after my partner agreed to volunteer at a local beer festival and asked if I could also help. I was behind the bar within minutes and trying my first ever Real Ale and have never looked back since that night. When I joined I knew nothing about real ale, beer festivals or even CAMRA. Seven years later I’ve learned a lot but there’s still stuff for me to learn.
I learned very quickly that CAMRA membership meant so much more than a monthly copy of What’s Brewing or the occasional trip to the local beer festival. I’ve learned that CAMRA is a very active organisation full of vibrant personalities getting involved in many different ways. From taking part in local pub surveys, distributing membership leaflets to running local and national beer festivals, the work is varied, challenging, but most of all, enjoyable. There is of course an element of commitment to volunteering but ultimately it is like-minded individuals working together and having fun that really encourages members to keep giving their valuable time. So, just a few years later I was Branch Chair for South East Lancashire Branch. I turned up at my first meeting, which was the branch AGM. There was just me and one other member there. A few years later there were 30+ members turning up on a regular basis and we were struggling to find suitable meeting venues.
I’m privileged to be supporting the largest region, geographically, in the Campaign. The demographics and environments are very different from one branch to the next and their needs are also complexly different. I am fortunate to have inherited a fantastic and experienced team from Ray Turpie that I can learn from and lean on. I am very excited about this opportunity as it gives me chance to meet, connect and interact with a lot of people in an environment that is positive, helpful to others and fulfilling.