Volunteers help ensure a vibrant and generous community spirit

Voluteers needed Picture: Getty Images

Volunteers Week runs from June 1 to June 7 each year - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Volunteers Week takes place between June 1 and June 7 every year. It's a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you.

It goes without saying that volunteers have played a key role in the pandemic response. During an exceptionally difficult year, people from all walks of life around the UK have taken the time to volunteer and make a huge difference to their communities – just as they do every year. This is a time for us to come together and thank all volunteers for their invaluable contribution whether shopping and befriending or providing meals for the most vulnerable during lockdown or helping with the vaccination programme.

Volunteers make the world a better place and this has been particularly true over the last year or so. As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve volunteers’ wellbeing too. It is human nature to feel good after helping someone out and volunteering can also help you gain valuable new skills and experiences and boost your confidence. Volunteering has a positive impact on mental and physical health and connects you with others that may lead to new friendships.

Sidmouth is an amazing place to live and there are an enormous number of people who volunteer every week in a wide range of activities from beach cleans and environmental activities, to sports clubs and running social groups, helping in charity shops, the food bank or supporting health and care organisations like Sid Valley Help, Sidmouth Voluntary services or Sidmouth Hospice at Home.

Consider all of the festivals that take place in Sidmouth. Most of them are organised and supported by teams of volunteers before and after the events. They enrich our community and provide entertainment from sampling new foods, celebrating the sea, learning about science and literature and enjoying our wonderful music festivals. I don’t think I have ever lived anywhere where there is such a vibrant and generous community spirit.

Personally, I have volunteered in a variety of roles since I moved here over 14 years ago and it has helped me settle, make friends, feel purposeful and part of the community. Now as Chair of Trustees of Sid Valley Help, I know that we are only as successful as our volunteers enable us to be. Like most other organisations that rely on volunteers, we are always seeking to recruit more people to allow us to offer more services. If you are interested, look at our website www.sidvalleyhelp.org or phone us on 01395 892011 for more information.

Ashlynn Lee, Sidmouth Hospice at Home Volunteer and support services manager reported to me that, ”as Sidmouth Hospice at Home is a charity with no external funding we rely on the generosity of time that our volunteers give us. If you have time to make a difference, and are kind and patient, and would like to be part of a healthy and active team, we are currently recruiting Dementia Volunteers.” For more information please contact the Volunteer and Support Services Manager on 07516 506119.

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