Our PR Jacqui took to social media – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – to highlight the sheer scale of our voluntary workforce and the many ways in which volunteers help N-Vision, The Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, and our residents and clients.
The various posts included comments from volunteers themselves on how they felt about volunteering. Marjorie, who volunteers in one of our charity shops and also for the Talking Newspaper, said: “I volunteered for N-Vision as it is a local charity which makes such a difference in the community. I am advocating a cause that I can personally relate to.
Working in the charity shop is enjoyable and fulfilling. I have made new friends amongst fellow volunteers and customers. Recording for the society has given me new skills. Volunteering gives me a focus for the day.”
Janet and June both volunteer in the Low Vision Centre supporting clients. They also volunteer at the Café Clubs.
Janet admits: “I became a volunteer to give something back to the community which is close to my heart. I enjoy talking to the clients, for some I may be the only person they have spoken to that day, it is very rewarding.”
June adds: “I volunteer hopefully to help someone else, to add some structure to my life and to give something back for the help I have received.”
And sometimes volunteering can be a great pathway back to the workplace – as Gordon, now our handyman, found out after a stint at the Cleveleys charity shop.
Gordon held a variety of management roles, with the emphasis always on customer service, and applied skills acquired in the workplace to his voluntary work (after about a couple of years out from employment) at the charity shop.
As luck would have it, he was snapped up as the charity’s handyman after the post became available – “I can turn my hand to pretty much anything,” he admits.So, you’ll spot him at work in the gardens, in the Princess Alexandra Home and in and around the Low Vision Centre and surrounds, doing a spot of maintenance, and responding to other calls for help and keeping things ticking over nicely. It’s not as stressful as his previous roles – and he’s enjoying every minute even the “back breaking bits”.
Gordon says: “I’ve enjoyed it from day one. My aim was to make a difference to people’s lives and certainly, since coming here, I have. Little things – like re-tuning someone’s TV – can mean the world of a difference to them. I look forward to coming here. And I think volunteering at the shop got me out of myself and made me realise I could still offer something back.”
On day one of national volunteers’ week our chief executive officer Ruth Lambert commented: “It is my privilege to convey sincere thanks and appreciation to all the volunteers who support the organisation throughout the year.
They are a remarkable group of individuals who freely donate their time and skills to support our clients, services and the infrastructure of the organisation.
Whatever they do and however they provide their support, the organisation could not manage without them and would be much the poorer without their commitment, enthusiasm and friendship.
Thank you and I look forward to sharing a continued successful and fulfilled future with you.”
And on the final day of volunteers’ week, Stephanie Beasley, volunteer coordinator, said: “We want to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers and let them know how much they are appreciated and how privileged we all are to work alongside such enthusiastic, dedicated people all who give their most valuable commodity, their time so freely.
We all know that without the support of the 240 Volunteers we have, helping out all departments of the organisation, we would not be able to offer the many services we do to our clients living throughout Blackpool, Fylde & Wyre – each and every one of them is a ‘Unsung Hero’….”
National Volunteers Week may have ended – but it continues for each and every one of the remaining 51 weeks of any year for many of our volunteers.
And here’s a jaw dropper. Last year N-Vision volunteers worked 14,400 hours. If they had been paid at last year’s minimum wage rate £7.50an hour it would equate to £108k! The money saved has increased even more since 33p was tagged onto the minimum wage this year. We’d the maths for you but reckon a volunteer would probably do it faster!