People across North Yorkshire are being encouraged to support their neighbours and their communities as Britain celebrates National Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June)
The nationwide event is aimed at recognising and celebrating the contribution made by volunteers – not only to the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, but also to the health and wellbeing of local communities and the volunteers themselves.
County Councillor David Chance, Executive Member for Stronger Communities said: There is a strong tradition of volunteering in North Yorkshire, with thousands of people investing their time and skills to provide valuable services in their neighbourhoods.
Their tremendous commitment and enthusiasm enhances the quality of life for people who live right across our county – whether in relatively isolated rural communities, or in our towns.
Volunteers are a key element to the success of North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities initiative, aimed at supporting and empowering communities to provide a range of services for local people that fully utilise all local assets, prevent loneliness, support troubled families, and contribute to healthier lifestyles.
Councillor Chance said: The people of North Yorkshire have demonstrated their enthusiasm for embracing volunteering in very many different ways … whether it’s driving the community car in Nidderdale, the Little White Bus in Wensleydale; keeping the local library thriving in places like Bilton and Barlby or maintaining public footpaths right across the county.
These are all great examples of how volunteers have risen to the challenge of ensuring communities remain vibrant despite the impact of austerity.
As well as being a key element of the Stronger Communities initiative, volunteers help out in many other fields. The value of their contribution to the county’s economy has been estimated at around £166 million every year. In the year 2014-15, the North Yorkshire Volunteer Centres received more than 3,000 inquiries from people interested in becoming volunteers, and arranged more than 1,000 placements.
Councillor Chance added: There is no such thing as a typical volunteer.
There are many different reasons for getting involved, but one thing we do know – the volunteer can gain a tremendous amount personally from the experience.
For some, for example, it can be a first step in the pursuit of a career, while for others it offers the chance to give something back to the community or make a difference to the people around them.