It’s Volunteers’ Week!

We’re in the middle of Volunteers’ Week at the moment – a great chance to recognise and celebrate some of the amazing unpaid work done by the many volunteers across Cumbria. If you’re on Twitter, you can hardly have failed to notice this – #VolunteersWeek has been enthusiastically embraced by organisations across Cumbria, and some of you will have been willingly captured in the Volunteers’ Week “photo frames” that have been at our Volunteer Fairs and other events (you might spot yourself in this article!).

Volunteers come in all “shapes and sizes” – people of all ages, from many different backgrounds with very different skills and motivations, volunteering for hours a week or just as a one off, taking up formal volunteer positions or informally helping out in their communities, juggling volunteering around their other commitments – all offering their time and existing skills for free, making new friends and learning new skills along the way, and making a difference in their communities.

Helen, Sam & John - Eden Valley HospiceOver 50,000 people in Cumbria – around 1 in 10 of the population – are involved in formal volunteering, and many more are involved in informal community activities. If you’re interested in finding out more of the facts and figures around volunteering, why not take a look at “The Value of Volunteering in the North” – a report published last year by Professor Tony Chapman from the University of Durham, and Jack Hunter from IPPR?

https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/the-value-of-volunteering-in-the-north

Volunteers have always been an important part of our team at Cumbria CVS, involved in our offices, helping deliver training, and as an absolutely essential part of many of our projects, such as “Living With and Beyond Cancer” and English Language support volunteers (with AWAZ Cumbria). And of course, like other charities, our Trustees are themselves volunteers. We simply couldn’t operate without them.

Mike from Mountain Rescue, along with trainee search dog Jake

As an organisation, we’ve always encouraged our staff to volunteer, but this year we’ve introduced a formal Staff Volunteering Policy to support this, and we’re happy to share our experience with other organisations interested in doing the same. Once again, our staff are involved in a wide range of volunteering – including being village hall trustees, fostering dogs in need of a temporary home, helping out in local sports clubs, being a member of the Patient Participation group at their local GP surgery, being a Mountain Rescue Team member and being involved in local arts organisations and activities. We’ve seen huge benefits as an organisation when they’ve put the skills and confidence they’ve developed in their volunteer activities to good use in their work roles.

If you’re interested in finding more about how Cumbria CVS supports volunteering in Cumbria, please get in touch – and watch out – there are still a few days of #VolunteersWeek left, so you might yet get captured on camera, particularly if you’re at our volunteering fair today (see below)! But if we don’t find you, find us on Twitter – tag us @CumbriaCVS in your Volunteers’ Week tweets to let us know about the work your volunteers are doing, and about opportunities you’re trying to recruit volunteers for.

Please remember it’s not too late to say thank you to your own volunteers this week. For ideas, tips and resources please visit:  http://volunteersweek.org/

So Happy Volunteers Week to all the fantastic volunteers in Cumbria and a big thank you to all the amazing volunteer managers who manage and support volunteers throughout the year. 

Cumbria CVS would also like to say a big thank you to our own volunteers and all our trustees – Thank You!