This year Volunteers’ Week has actually been a Volunteers’ Fortnight in recognition of Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.
With two whole weeks in which to celebrate the contribution that volunteers make to the community, Dementia Forward decided to get out and about to talk to the people themselves and find out what drives them and why they love it so.
Netty Newell, Dementia Forward’s Operations Manager said:
the idea came from a desire to celebrate all types of volunteering. No matter how small or how frequent, it all adds up and goes to help an individual or a community. So we created our big green hearts and volunteers filled them with positive thoughts and feelings.
Community Liaison Workers Debbie Brooke and Debby Lennox, assisted by their fabulous teams of volunteers, received some wonderful responses from people in Harrogate, Ripon, York and The Vale, with volunteering roles ranging from baking cakes to building orphanages; listening to children read to collecting swarms of bees.
And they found that people’s incentives were equally varied, including wanting to give something back, meeting people, learning new skills and helping loved ones: although one recurring theme was that people get just as much out of volunteering as they put in.
It was encouraging to learn how many young people are involved in volunteering and to see first-hand the passion they had when talking about these roles. ‘What was also interesting,’ explains Debbie Brooke, ‘was the number of retired people who are volunteering to continue to use their skills or pursue hobbies.
Dementia Forward are now the proud owners of two hearts celebrating the fabulous work of volunteers, and their next challenge is to find a home for them so that everyone can see that volunteering is alive and thriving in our communities. They would welcome any ideas or recommendations.