volunteer

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A Volunteer’s Story – Befriending Week 2019

‘I first met J, a 90 year old lady in January 2014. It was the first time I’d been a befriender but my flat is 5 minutes from her home so it was really convenient. We were both uncertain of how it would go but we found it easy to chat over tea and her delicious homemade cakes.

As time passed, I helped her with her garden and we got closer. I was really interested to hear about her life and she was interested in mine too. We became real friends.

J turned 96 this month and I’m proud to say that we have really grown to love one another. We are very different in ages and background but we just seemed to click and enjoy any time we spend together.

J now has live-in carers so is still happily living in her home. I visit 2 or 3 times a week and on good days we play cribbage, which she taught me, and I still do her garden under her careful supervision!

I am so glad I became a befriender and met this wonderful lady.’

For a growing number of people, particularly those in later life, loneliness can define their lives and have a significant impact on their wellbeing. 3.6 million older people in the UK live alone, of whom over 2 million are aged over 75.

We have befriending volunteering opportunities all over Surrey. It’s an easy process and you will get as much as you give – please make a difference and be a friend.

Surrey Heath Age Concern http://www.sh-ac.org.uk call 01252 266841

Age UK Surrey : https://www.ageuk.org.uk/services/befriending-services/ call 01483 503414

Time to Talk https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/time-to-talk/ call 01276 707565

Snowman photo for Surrey Heath Awards

Surrey Heath Volunteer Awards 2019

It’s time to nominate one of your wonderful volunteers for a Surrey Heath Volunteer Award 2019.  Volunteers often don’t want to be in the limelight and this is a great way to help them realise how valued they are.

On Monday 2nd December 2019, from 2 pm, Voluntary Support North Surrey in partnership with Surrey Heath Borough Council will be hosting their annual awards ceremony at the Camberley Heath Golf Club, Golf Drive, Camberley GU15 1JG.

Please take the time to nominate one or more of your dedicated volunteers as well as your teams for these awards.

The award categories are:

  • Lifetime Achievement in Volunteering Award
  • Inspirational Volunteer Award
  • Individual Volunteer Achievement Award
  • Supporting Individuals in Need Award (older, young and vulnerable people)
  • Long Service Award
  • Young Volunteer Award (up to the age of 24)
  • Best Volunteer Team Award
  • Contribution to Sport
  • Digital Support Award
  • Engagement in the Community Award

The judging panel has been assembled with knowledgeable representatives from our local community and will include the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Robin Perry.

Please click here for the online form.  The closing date for nominations is Thursday 7th November 2019 at 5pm.

If you need help completing the form or would prefer it in word format please contact the Voluntary Support North Surrey office on 01932 571122.  Please do forward the details of the volunteer awards to anyone in the Borough that you feel may be interested in nominating a volunteer as we would like to make these Awards as inclusive as possible.

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You can make a difference in a day 2019

 

‘We can’t help everyone – but everyone can help someone’

#makeadifferenceinaday

Make a Difference Day was started to help encourage us all to take one day a year to try to make a difference in our world. It’s amazing what just a small effort can do for a local community or for a life. We all have an opportunity every day to change the world, whether we’re helping our neighbours, making a donation to charity or volunteering for a local voluntary group.

We’ve thought of some simple ways you can make a difference in a day and we hope you’ll give some of them a try and let us know how you get on!

Make a donation:

  • Have a house tidy and give your unwanted items to someone who can use them – Marie Kondo is great inspiration!
  • Find out what your local food bank needs and make a food donation
  • Volunteer
  • Donate money to a local charity
  • Buy charity Christmas cards

Do something for someone else:

  • Have a cup of tea with a neighbour
  • Telephone a friend or relative who needs support
  • Offer to babysit
  • Take part in a litter pick or pick up some litter yourself
  • Share your chocolate (although we’re not sure about this one!)

Be Kind:

  • Compliment a coworker
  • Give way to another car at a junction and be a considerate/patient driver for the day
  • Talk to someone in the queue at the supermarket or smile at someone in the street
  • Give up your seat on the bus or train
  • Listen

Help a local charity by sharing their messages on your social media – retweet, like, share and comment to help them reach a new audience

Making a difference to yourself will help the world around you and how you feel about it

Finally if you think you could give more time than a day we have nearly 400 live volunteer roles in North Surrey from mental health buddies to dog walking and we can find you something to suit you https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/volunteer-now/

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Make a Difference Day in Surrey 2019

Every year we organise 2 inclusive volunteering events to involve groups of local businesses who donate their time to make a difference to the local community. Our mission is to inspire volunteers to ‘get up, get going and get active’.

Make a Difference Day is an important date in our volunteering calendar. It takes place at the beginning of October and it’s a chance for employees of local businesses to make a difference in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath.

If you and your colleagues are interested in a day outdoors helping the National Trust at Magna Carta on Tuesday 1st Oct or at Finchampstead Ridges on Wednesday 9th Oct please contact TJ@voluntarysupport.org.uk for more details.

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Befriending in North Surrey

Time to Talk is our befriending project in Surrey Heath. Over the last 6 months we’ve heard some lovely stories from our befrienders and the people they’ve spent time with:

Glen’s daughter became concerned about her mum who had always loved to chat was now struggling to socialise. Glen had suffered a loss, been unwell, moved house and was feeling lonely and isolated. ‘Time to Talk’ matched Glen with Yasmin, one of our volunteers, they hit it off immediately and Yasmin has visited Glen weekly ever since.

Glen’s daughter has noticed a big difference in her mum since the visits started. Glen very much enjoys Yasmin’s company, her visits are ‘the highlight of Mum’s week’. ‘Absolutely gorgeous’ is how Glen describes her time spent with Yasmin, ‘it gives me something to look forward to, we talk about all sorts of things, current affairs, dating and have a good laugh’.

Yasmin tells us that she wished she started volunteering years ago because the time she spends with Glen is lots of fun and flies by. They enjoy sharing stories and experiences, including the way dating has changed over the years, Yasmin had never heard of a dance hall!!

It’s a small thing to be a friend but it has such a huge impact. Why don’t you make a difference to someone’s life by being a Time to Talk volunteer https://voluntarysupport.org.uk/volunteering/time-to-talk/

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Combat Food Poverty with the Foodbanks of North Surrey

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children.

An estimated 8.4 million people struggle to get enough to eat. This includes many households with people in work, families with children, as well as older and disabled people.

There are dedicated community groups in North Surrey taking action to ensure people are able to eat and to address the root causes of people’s difficulties and they need your support. All this week we’ll be highlighting how you can help these organisations and tackle food poverty in our local community.

Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, the Trussell Trust’s food bank network distributed 148,640 three-day emergency food supplies to people in the South East of England. More than half of these went to childrenFood poverty affects children who lack free school meals during the holidays; parents on low incomes going without food so that their children can eat; working people whose low wages leave them struggling to buy healthy food; or older people unable to prepare meals without support.

An estimated 4.7m people in the UK reported they went a full day without anything to eat at all due to lack of money. Based on these estimates, the UK – the 6th largest economy in the world – ranks in the bottom half of European countries, on par with Hungary and Latvia.

Summer holidays are a misery for parents struggling to feed their children and you can do something about it. No matter where you live in North Surrey you can make a donation to your local foodbank (see details below) or become one of their dedicated volunteers.

Contact alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk for more information about volunteering for a foodbank in your area

Runnymede Foodbank, Runnymede

Manna Foodbank, Spelthorne  Sunbury Foodbank, Spelthorne  Stanwell Foodbank, Spelthorne

Besom, Surrey Heath

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Trustees – Volunteers Week 2019

Trustees are literally the foundation of all nonprofit organisations. They are the volunteers who help control how the charity is run and responsible for making sure it is doing what it set out to do and that it has the funds to achieve its aims.

Trustees use their skills and professional experience to support the charity’s cause or causes, working together with the other trustees as a team.

One of the most important things charities need from their Trustees is someone who is committed to the organisation and enthusiastic about what they stand for. It is important that they recruit people from a wide range of backgrounds who offer a variety of different skills and experience.

Richard is a trustee for Egham Education Trust:

“I’m 23 years into a great career with Microsoft and I consider myself the luckiest person alive. I have a decent income, a loving family and a roof over my head. I don’t think I would have ended up in this position if it wasn’t for the Egham Education Trust, which stepped in when I needed it most to help me with financial support, so I was able to afford my education after I left school. The Trust set me on the road for a career in technology and I’ve always been grateful. Now it’s time for me to give back, to help others get the opportunities which I was given to live their lives to the fullest. I’m back at the Egham Education Trust, but this time I’m helping them find people who are in need like I was. It’s a chance for me to give back to the charity that did so much when I needed it the most, and it’s a simple thing to offer my time and skills to volunteer with them.”

Recruiting new trustees is an ongoing issue for most non-profits. Finding someone who has the right skills and experience, a connection with your cause and enough free time to make a genuine contribution can be time consuming.

For the sake of diversity don’t limit your recruitment process to personal connections. Use your social media channels, create a dedicated page on your website and use our Surrey-wide volunteer recruitment database Volunteer Plus (contact alison@voluntarysupport.org.uk for more information)

You can also go national using resources listed by the Small Charities Coalition

As you can see from Richard’s experiences, being a trustee is enormously rewarding. If you’re interested, have a look at our trustee volunteer roles – we have opportunities from a diverse range of local charities.

As we’re so fond of saying … we really do have a volunteering role for everyone!

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Volunteers Week 2019

Volunteers Week is celebrated between 1st and 7th June every year. It is a week in which the UK celebrates volunteers and says thank you to them for the contribution that they make. There’s lots of information about events and how to get involved on the NCVO website and still time to organise a thank you for your volunteers.

For us Volunteers Week 2019 is a busy time of year, we have information events to celebrate, inform and thank volunteers in our community and also our annual Runnymede and Spelthorne Volunteer Awards 2019 ceremony at Royal Holloway University. There are 15 million people in the UK who regularly give their time to local communities and our awards recognise some of those amazing volunteers in our own community. It’s an inspiring, fun evening where we get to meet lots of old friends and make some new ones!

‘Wanting to do good’ remains the most important reason to volunteer. 46% of people say improving things and helping others remains the most common reason why they volunteer. 31% of people said they gave time because the cause was important to them.

Being a volunteer means having time to give, which can make work and family commitments a barrier to volunteering. However, locally we have found increasing numbers of local businesses are interested in help with employee supported volunteering (ESV), where the employees of a business take paid time off to volunteer during work hours. Approximately 11 million employees in the UK are taking part in ESV schemes, estimated at two billion pounds worth of support to deserving charities. By helping tackle local issues, employers can benefit both themselves and the communities in which they operate. Contact us to find out how you can get your business involved. We’d also love to hear from you if you’re a charity with a project that you think a team of volunteers can help with.

There are also ways to volunteer that only take a little time but mean a great deal to the charities and their beneficiaries. If you’d like to volunteer and need help finding the right role please get in touch with alison – there really is something to suit everyone!

Worried man laying on a table, looking to his smart phone. Bad news and fear. Converted to black and white. Grain added.

Help the Homeless with Spelthorne Rentstart

Sometimes things just happen and you can’t control them. Personal tragedy or sudden change in circumstances can strike any of us at any time and if you fall outside the welfare safety net there is often nowhere else to turn. 

Spelthorne Rentstart help their clients to get a roof over their heads and ensure they have the best chance of maintaining a trouble free tenancy by offering ongoing support for the duration of the lease. Last year they helped 61 new clients into housing and followed up with 1200 existing clients to give further advice and assistance.

Richard says that being a volunteer for Rentstart is “Awesome!! It’s a very rewarding role, you interview people who in many cases are in a difficult, if not desperate situation, sleeping in parks, vans and sofas if they are lucky. Most times it is not their fault nor can they do much about their situation, it is circumstances beyond their control which dictate their position. You can give them hope, direction and support in moving on to find somewhere live. That’s a big thing”.

You could give someone hope.

Rentstart need volunteer interviewers to give advice and assistance to the homeless (or at risk of being homeless) in Spelthorne. They’ll train and support you in all the skills you’ll need to make a real difference at a crisis point in someones life.

Interested? Learn more about the role here.

Trophies and certificates

Everyone is a Winner at the Surrey Heath Volunteer Awards

We had the most fabulous afternoon on Tuesday with the wonderful volunteers of Surrey Heath at our annual volunteer awards in Camberley Theatre. It was a little tight on space with over one hundred guests, but the atmosphere was festive and the combination of volunteers, tea, cake and conversation made it a really special event.

Thanks to Mayor Dan Adams for being part of the judging panel and presenting the awards and well done to all the nominees - we think you are all winners!

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