‘Step forward, volunteer and you’ll never regret it’ says Somerset County Council Leader, Cllr David Fothergill, this National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June).
This echoes the many comments from some of the County Council’s 175 volunteer drivers who say they find volunteer driving ‘rewarding’, ‘fulfilling’ and ‘satisfying’.
Volunteer drivers take people who are unable to drive themselves to vital medical, social care and other appointments. They are asked to commit to one or two full days a week as a minimum, need to own a four-door car and will be reimbursed up to 50p per mile.
Volunteer driver Martin, from Cheddar, has been volunteering with Somerset County Council since 2016. He said: “I volunteer drive for two days a week and am self-employed the remaining days of the week. Volunteer driving gets me out of the house, you meet interesting people and you’re doing a valuable thing for the community. Volunteer driving helps people who wouldn’t be able to get out of the house without you. Give it a go!”
Other Council volunteering opportunities include library volunteers, adopting a path, outdoors activities assistant, supporting young people and school governors.
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.”
Cllr David Fothergill said: “Thank you to the thousands of volunteers across Somerset who give up some of their spare time to help others, the environment and their community. You are invaluable and provide a vital lifeline, improving lives, for so many.
“I volunteer for the Taunton Flower Show, Taunton Marathon and the carnival committee and I thoroughly enjoy it. It takes me away from what we do every day of the week and it gives me an opportunity to meet different people. It really is rewarding. You go home and you feel you’ve added something back to the community. So, step forward, become a volunteer and you’ll never regret it.”
Cllr Fothergill talks about his experiences of volunteering and County Council roles available at https://youtu.be/uoKWGBlaKzs
For a full listing, check out https://volunteering.somerset.gov.uk/ or contact 0300 123 2224.
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Notes to editors:
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations Report ‘Time Well Spent’ (January 2019) highlighted the following:
- 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%), the age range least like are the 25-34 year olds (31%)
- 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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