Put a ‘Spring’ in your step – Volunteer!

Adopt a path, drive people to vital medical appointments, help in a library or help out in Somerset’s outdoor activity centres – there are plenty of volunteering opportunities to put a spring in your step this spring.

With the launch of Somerset County Council’s new dedicated volunteering website (https://volunteering.somerset.gov.uk), it couldn’t be easier with all Council volunteering roles now only a click away.

The Council has over 175 volunteer drivers based all over Somerset who drive people unable to drive themselves to vital medical, social care and other appointments at different locations. Volunteers are asked to commit to 1-2 full days a week minimum, need to own a four-door car and will be reimbursed at up to 50p per mile.

Volunteer driver, Tony said: “After retiring, I knew I wanted to do something that got me out of the house and meeting people. Volunteer driving was perfect. I volunteer for one day a week driving people to hospital appointments. I’ve met some really interesting people along the way and no volunteering day is the same.”

Emma, 18, is a volunteer with the Council’s Short Breaks Team. This is an amazing personal achievement for Emma who gets very anxious with new and unknown situations.

The Short Breaks team tailored their approach to volunteering to meet Emma’s needs, helping find solutions that worked for her.

Laura White from the Short Breaks team said: “Emma is still volunteering with us and loving every moment. She never misses a session at our family club. The difference to her is very visible, despite her anxiety she is placing herself into new situations of her own choosing, chatting to disabled young people and their families, finding out what they enjoy and what they have been up to since the last club session. Volunteering within Short Breaks is really flexible, informal and we try our best to find placements which meet people’s aims, availability and skills. It can be as little or as much as you would like.”

Jackie, an Adopt a Path volunteer, said: “The Adopt a Path scheme has been a great way to get outdoors, see the countryside near my home and get to meet some people who are really passionate about our countryside. At the same time I help to keep the paths clear and open for others to enjoy and I would recommend this Scheme to anyone with an interest in getting out and about more. As a Volunteer you will only need to walk the path 3-4 times a year so you may want to buddy up with a friend and Adopt other paths together.”

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health at Somerset County Council said: “We know everyone has busy lives, but helping someone else, giving something back to your community and helping the environment can make all the difference and really does improve lives. If you have some time to spare, get in touch. The benefits to you from volunteering are immense – reducing stress from everyday life, helping you gain confidence, meet new people as well as gain new skills and experiences.”

To check out all Somerset County Council volunteering opportunities, click http://www.volunteering.somerset.gov.uk, or contact 0300 123 2224.

For other volunteering opportunities in your area, check out:

Spark Somerset: Volunteering opportunities in South Somerset, Mendip and Sedgemoor – 01460 202970 http://www.sparksomerset.org.uk/

Engage: Volunteering opportunities in Taunton and West Somerset
Taunton: 07958 132882 West Somerset: 01643 707123
http://www.engagews.org.uk/

Ends

For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email pressoffice@somerset.gov.uk

Notes to Editors

• 7 out of 10 people have volunteered at some point in their lives, 4 in 10 in the last 12 months
• The age group most likely to volunteer are those aged 65 and over (45%)
• 96% of volunteers say they are fairly or very satisfied with their volunteering and 7 out of 10 would recommend their volunteering to a friend or family member
• 89% of recent volunteers said that they meet new people through their volunteers and 68% say that it helps them feel less isolated (this rises to about 77% of the under 34 age range)
• 93% of volunteers say they enjoy their volunteering
• 90% of volunteers feel they are making a difference through their volunteering

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