Organisation News

Time to Change - Year 1(1)

Time to Change End of Year Report

Launched in April 2021, the Time to Change project has worked across Surrey to increase the number of young people aged 19-25 years who are volunteering. One year on, the project has published a report setting out the impact that the project has made so far.

In the last year:

  • Organisations that worked with the project saw a 53% increase in the number of young volunteers they recruited
  • The project increased volunteers managers' skills and knowledge of how to reach and recruit young people
  • Ten 'Recruiting and managing young volunteers' training sessions were delivered to 90 people

Read the full report: Time to Change - Impact Report 2021-22


Jubilant volunteers celebrate Platinum Jubilee

A small group of volunteers were invited to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London this month, representing the many wonderful Surrey volunteers who gave their time, expertise and energy during the Covid-19 pandemic.Joanna Gordon was one of the group who were invited. Joanna, who volunteered at the Walton vaccine centre, said, “The palace celebrations were fab and I was so honoured to have been chosen.  

“A truly incredible group of people came together when the call went out for help, making volunteering both rewarding and good fun in equal measures. Not only did I feel I was making an invaluable contribution to the national campaign to fight the virus, but I met an amazing group of volunteers as well as dedicated healthcare staff. We worked tirelessly, together, with good humour, positivity and efficiency to deal daily with the wide variety of questions and anxieties faced by a local community going through an unprecedented vaccine programme - but also found time to enjoy all the lovely treats they kept bringing in to thank us! I know I speak for all Walton volunteers when I say it was a delight to volunteer and we're proud to have been a part of the vaccination programme.”  

Roberta Davenport, another volunteer who attended the celebrations, agreed: "To see London shut down was a spectacle to behold. We started off at St James’ Palace, took a picnic, went to the Mall, made our way to Green Park. We ended up in the press corner at the back of Buckingham Palace and watched all sorts of people come in including Prince Charles and Zara Phillips. It was an amazing privilege to be there." 

She added, “I started volunteering early on in the pandemic after I lost my husband. I needed to do something and found out about the initiative at Surrey Heath, providing residents with flu vaccinations to begin with and then later the Covid vaccine. 

“I’ve enjoyed the volunteering, I’m going to keep on doing it. I’ve met some amazing people” 

Voluntary Support North Surrey have supported five vaccination centres across the region with recruiting and scheduling volunteers. Over the last 12 months we have helped to recruit over 1100 volunteer to support the vaccination programme.  At the busiest times we were filling 111 shifts per day or 3,108 hours of volunteering per week.

South East Regional Winner_NHS_Award

Vaccination service up for national NHS Parliamentary Award after regional title win

The Surrey Heath Covid-19 vaccination service has been named the South East regional winner of the 2022 NHS Parliamentary Awards and is now a finalist for the national title. The award recognises the way different organisations came together to support their community in response to Covid.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards were launched to mark the NHS’ 70th birthday in 2018 and are held annually to recognise the outstanding contribution of staff, volunteers and others working in the health and care sector. Applicants are recommended to Members of Parliament who then nominate one from their constituency. The vaccination service for people within Surrey Heath was nominated by Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

In Surrey Heath GP practices worked together with the NHS, the voluntary sector and borough and county councils to create a caring, efficient, responsive, high-performing vaccination services. By pooling resources and skills, the vaccination team and the broader support operation has been able to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure as many people as possible could be reached and supported in the face of the pandemic. As well as providing the mainstream Covid-19 vaccinations, there were special considerations provided to support those with extra needs.

As well as the mainstream vaccination service, arrangements have been made for carers, older people and those with vulnerabilities and disabilities – with information provided to support them specifically. Wheelchairs have been made available and Surrey Heath Borough Council has laid on free transport for people to be able to attend. Outreach clinics have also been held for the Gypsy, Roma and traveller community, as well as homeless people, and additional support has been provided to increase vaccination in minority ethnic communities and for those in vulnerable groups.

Dr Mark Pugsley, local GP and Accountable Clinical Director of Surrey Heath Primary Care Network, said: “From the first days of preparing for the local rollout of the vaccination programme, we have seen some amazing commitment, selflessness and generosity from across our collective team. The Surrey Heath vaccination programme is the work of several organisations and lots of individuals all coming together to support a common goal and it’s remarkable to think of all that we’ve been able to achieve for the good of our residents, in such a short space of time.”

Solette Sheppardson, CEO at Voluntary Support North Surrey, said: “‘This is an excellent example of team work at its best, with everyone coming together at speed in a challenging situation. Many hundreds of volunteers have contributed to this success and it’s great to be able to demonstrate what has been achieved collectively."

The partnership working that has enabled the successful vaccination programme has also built and strengthened relationships between the different groups involved, and organisers are hoping they can use these links to provide further health and wellbeing benefits to the local population in the future.

Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated is encouraged to either book an appointment or visit a walk-in service as soon as possible if they are eligible. More information can be found here:

Loneliness Awareness Week 2022

Tackling loneliness through volunteering

It is Loneliness Awareness Week, created and hosted by The Marmalade Trust. Loneliness is a normal feeling, with one in five people in the UK feeling lonely.

Evidence shows that loneliness can affect people’s mental and physical health. People are naturally social; feeling connected with, and giving to, others is a key factor of our emotional well-being.

The best way to combat loneliness is to talk with someone and volunteering is a great way to do this. We know that volunteering gives people a sense of community and that volunteers experience a physiological response to doing good. Meeting others and being part of a team all help increase people’s sense of well-being.

There are a number of local organisations that are in need of befrienders and other support roles which aim to support people who may feel lonely. Our own Time to Talk service in Surrey Heath has volunteer befrienders who are matched with people in the local community.

If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering, take a look at the volunteering opportunities on our website or call us on 01932 571122.

If you’re feeling lonely, the NHS Every Mind Matters and Healthy Surrey websites both have useful tips and information.


Time to Change is recruiting a Project Manager

The Time to Change project supports organisations to build up their knowledge, skills and confidence to develop suitable and attractive opportunities for young people. We have supported over 75 organisations across Surrey during the project's first year and there has been a 27% increase in the number of young people (aged 19-25) volunteering within those groups.

This is a one year fixed-term contract, with the possibility of an extension. As Project Manager, you will aim to increase the number of 19- to 25-year-olds actively volunteering in Surrey. The project works with a core base of 20 voluntary organisations Surrey-wide focusing on how to engage youth in volunteering. The role will be based in any of our three offices (Camberley, Chertsey, or Staines).

Project Manager - Youth (19-25) Volunteering Job Description

Closing date has been extended to 15th July 2022.

To apply for this role, please send a CV and covering letter to

Drop In service (2)

New drop-in sessions for Ukrainians and their hosts

Voluntary Support North Surrey (VSNS) has launched a new service for Ukrainian refugees and their host families, in partnership with Runnymede Borough Council. The weekly drop-in is held every Tuesday from 12.30pm until 2pm at Revive Coffee Shop, 99 Guildford Street, in Chertsey.

The drop-in gives people an opportunity to get together in a relaxed environment, where they can meet others and share stories, information and support.

At the sessions, VSNS will also get a steer from those attending about what the most pressing needs are for both hosts and their guests, with the aim of working with local services to provide services that meet those needs.

Solette Sheppardson, VSNS CEO, explained, “We know that people are keen to meet fellow Ukrainians but also need assistance as they begin to settle in to living in Surrey, including help with speaking English and getting ready to work. We have developed the drop-in to provide a place for people to meet but also as a way to support them to reach other services. We are keen to hear from local organisations that are supporting refugees so that we can signpost people to their services.

“So far, we have welcomed twelve Ukrainian families and individuals to these sessions and have already put other local hosts in touch.”

Organisations supporting refugees are asked to contact Jo Buckell at VSNS by calling 01932 571122 or emailing

Volunteers' Week is from 1st to 7th June

Volunteers’ Week is fast approaching and this year it risks getting a little lost among all the Jubilee celebrations. It’s well worth putting some thought into how best to say thank you and showing volunteers how much they mean.  We all know volunteers aren’t doing it for the recognition, but a little thank you goes a long way in showing how much they are appreciated.

The Volunteers' Week website is a good starting point for ideas, but here at Voluntary Support North Surrey, we’ve also been thinking about how best to show your appreciation. Here are a few ideas that we hope may give you some inspiration as you plan your own ways to thank volunteers:

  1. Make it personal

Rather than sending a bulk email to all volunteers with a generic message of thanks, try to make things as personal as possible – giving recognition for what they have achieved. If you’re sending a card or a certificate to them, maybe mention the number of hours or shifts they have worked over the past year, or the personal relationships they have built with service users – something that reflects what they personally have brought to your organisation.

  1. Keep it green

Everyone loves to keep things as planet-friendly as possible.  How about planting some seeds in empty toilet rolls and giving volunteers a home-grown tomato plant that is all ready to transplant into their own garden? or a houseplant they can enjoy? We love these personalised seed packets from Etsy if you do have a little budget to burn - but we’re sure you could make something similar for free - 10 Thank You Flowers Personalised Seed Packets | Etsy UK

  1. Shout about the difference they have made

Often volunteers are making a huge difference to individuals, but they may be the last ones to hear about it. If you’ve had some wonderful feedback from your service users, make that the centrepiece of any thanks you share with your volunteers, and think about sharing this on social media too.

  1. Make it fun

Volunteering can be a serious business, but this offers a great opportunity for some fun too. Maybe it’s a chance to create a light-hearted thank you video. Here’s some inspiration from our friends across the pond -

  1. It’s all in the presentation

You don’t need a big budget to show your thanks. Some careful preparation and something homemade such as a simple paper bag with a handwritten gift tag and some thoughtful words is all you need.  For some ideas on wording or small gifts, look here -

  1. Partner with local businesses

Are there local businesses that might be willing to offer a small thank you gift for free? Perhaps a local coffee shop is willing to give a free coffee or cake to your volunteers on their next visit, or maybe a sports centre will offer them a free gym session. It is worth looking in your area to see if there could be a willing donor (it might help to raise your organisation’s profile too!).

We’d love to hear about how you plan to thank your volunteers this year and what works well for you. Email us with your volunteer week plans.


Communications Manager - image

VSNS is recruiting a Social Media specialist

We are looking for an enthusiastic Social Media specialist with a solid understanding of how social media channels work who is able to communicate with our key audiences about our services. Voluntary Support North Surrey has a small team of staff dedicated to supporting charities and community organisations across North Surrey from our offices in Camberley, Chertsey and Spelthorne. This role will be based at our Chertsey office but applicants will need access to a car as you may be required to travel. A detailed job description is here and the closing date for applications is 31st March.  Please email your CV with a covering letter to

Finding Value in Day to Day Living (1)

Find Your Ikigai Through Volunteering

Whether newly retired or feeling stuck in a rut with the daily grind, many of us are struggling to find our mojos after the disruption of the pandemic and the anxiety created by the crisis in Ukraine. But the Japanese concept of Ikigai - finding value in day-to-day living - may hold at least part of the answer.

This doesn’t mean making big dramatic changes. It can be as simple as taking steps to feel more connected to your community and those around you. Volunteering is a great way to start this process.

  1. Start small – with so many opportunities out there, it can be hard to decide where to start and what will fit around your other commitments. Microvolunteering (small remote tasks with flexible timings) can be a great way to get a taste for volunteering without making a big regular commitment ( Being part of something bigger that is making a difference gives you a real purpose. Or maybe try helping at a one off event to meet other volunteers and feel part of a group. Sign up to receive alerts about one off volunteering opportunities on our website and start your search
  2. Stay local – giving back to your local community and seeing the difference you make is hugely rewarding. Whether driving local residents to medical appointments or helping with collections for the local foodbank, it’s surprising how many voluntary groups there are in your area that would gladly take new volunteers. For regular newsletters about local opportunities sign up here
  3. Find your cause – think about what matters to you and what you care about. To get the most out of your volunteering, it’s important to find something that matters to you. Not sure where to start? You can search for opportunities local to you on our website or speak to the team at Voluntary Support who can share opportunities that align with your interests.
  4. Reap the rewards – Once you have the right volunteering role, enjoy the benefits that it brings. It may be as simple as feeling like a valued member of your community or you may find you are able to develop new skills and friendships through your volunteering work. A fresh perspective and sense of satisfaction may soon put the spring back in your step.
  5. Share your experience – If you love the way volunteering makes you feel, be sure to tell others the difference it is making – the perfect excuse for a humblebrag. If your company doesn’t currently offer opportunities for staff to volunteer, let them know about the difference it has made for you and connect them to Voluntary Support North Surrey who can help them find ways to incorporate volunteering into their strategy.


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Donate to foodbanks in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath

Local food banks need your support with donation of non-perishable food or a financial donation.


Runnymede Foodbank

Food donations to any of the food donation points

Make a financial donation via the Runnymede Foodbank website


Community Foodbank - Sunbury and Shepperton:

Food donations to Saviour's Church, 205 Vicarage Rd, Sunbury-on-Thames TW16 7TP.


Make a financial donation at St Saviour's Sunbury Community Foodbank more information on the St Saviours Community Foodbank website

Manna Foodbank

Food donation points


Make a financial donation at

Stanwell Foodbank 

Donations of food to the The Pavilion, Cambria Gardens, Stanwell, TW19 7ER


Make a financial donation at

The Salvation Army – Ashford

Donations to be placed by the main door at the Community Centre, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, TW15 3HY.  Food bank opening hours 9am - 12 midday from Monday to Friday.

Contact :

Financial donations by cash and cheque should be sealed in an envelope and posted through the letterbox. Anyone requiring a receipt should include their name and address in the envelope

Bags of Help, Jubilee Church Shepperton

Donations of food - box situated next to the front door at the Jubilee Centre, Manygate Lane, Shepperton, Middlesex, TW17 9EE


Surrey Heath:

Hope Hub

Donations of food to The Hope Hub Building, Rear of Library, Knoll Road, Camberley, GU15 3SY or call 01276 581174

Financial donations via

Besom Food Bank

Donations of food to High Cross Church, Knoll Rd, Camberley GU15 3SY

Financial donations via

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