A record number of volunteers are helping support Somerset residents and communities in a variety of Somerset County Council services.
As National Volunteers Week (1-7 June) gets underway, latest figures show over 4,500 volunteers give up some of their spare time to help support over 25 Somerset County Council volunteering roles.
From volunteer drivers who drive people to vital medical appointments, getset volunteers who support young children and parents in nurseries and getset centres, breastfeeding champions, school governors, Duke of Edinburgh coordinators, Rights of Way volunteers to those who support the elderly.
Volunteers receive full training and research shows volunteers have higher life satisfaction, better health and wellbeing and an enriched social life through meeting like-minded people. It can also improve CVs and help people back into work, like Laura.
Laura, 32 with two school aged children, volunteered one day a week with the Taunton Adult Social Care team. She linked older people to craft groups in their area and helped vulnerable or older people organise food and energy supplies. After building confidence, Laura successfully applied for a permanent Contact Support Worker position within Children’s Services.
Laura said: “Volunteering gave me a great insight into social care, boosted my confidence in my ability to do the work and helped me to clearly map out my intended career path.”
Somerset County Council volunteers can also provide a vital lifeline – driving people for dialysis or hospital appointments and helping older people, like Irene, get back on their feet.
Irene, 90, is helped by community support volunteer, Gillian, to go shopping after a fall affected her confidence.
Irene said: “Having a volunteer has helped my confidence when walking. I have walked to the shops with Gillian and I have now walked alone twice to the bus stop. I had a fall and it knocked my confidence so need to build it up again. I hope Gillian will help me.”
Pat Flaherty, Chief Executive of Somerset County Council, said: “I’d like to thank each and every one of our thousands of volunteers who help support people, communities and the environment within Somerset every day.
“Our volunteers are invaluable, making our communities stronger and better. They provide extra support to our own staff in a range of tasks and services, enhancing our services whilst giving something back to Somerset communities.
“But we always need more! We have a number of volunteer opportunities available across a broad range of services if you have some time to spare and a willingness to help.”
For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
- Photo attached: The Sedgemoor and South Somerset Ramblers Association have just installed a self-closing pedestrian wooden gate kit to replace a stile on a public right of way.
- Somerset County Council contracts ‘CSW You can Do’ to deliver the Somerset Volunteer Service, promoting County Council related volunteer opportunities. These range from volunteer drivers, leaving care volunteers, helping children with disabilities, supporting children and families in early years settings, adult social care and summer reading volunteers. To check out all Somerset County Council volunteering opportunities, click on www.somersetvolunteer.co.uk, email email@example.com or contact 01278 664180.
- A number of events organised by Somerset County Council’s volunteering partners, Spark and Engage, are taking part during National Volunteers Week.
Spark are organising:
. Thursday 1st June Volunteering Information session at Mendip District Council offices
Sunday 4th June Frome Tea Party
Tuesday 6th June Spark Team Volunteering morning at The Balsam Centre Wincanton (preparing lunches for the cafe)
The winning volunteers nominated for STAR awards will also be announced for South Somerset, Mendip and Sedgemoor during National Volunteers’ Week.
Engage are organising:
Volunteers nominated for a STAR award will be presented with their awards at:
Taunton Deane – Wednesday 7 June at North Street Church
West Somerset – Friday 9 June at The Beach Hotel
Timings for both: Tea/coffee/biscuits from 10.45am. Awards ceremony starts 11.30am.
Each nominee will receive a certificate and the winners of each category (Group and Individual in Taunton Deane; and Group, Individual and Environmental in West Somerset) get a small engraved plate. The overall Star Volunteer is selected from the winners and is presented with a large plate, which they keep for a year, returning it in time for next year’s celebrations
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