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‘100 years of Volunteering – Then and Now’

On the centenary of Armistice Day, Community Action Suffolk is launching a campaign called ‘100 years of Volunteering – Then and Now’.  We will be adding our voice to Remembrance and reminding everyone of the continued importance of volunteering in Suffolk.  Our aim is to inspire people today, as then, to lend their time and skills to their community. 

As a base for the campaign, we will be recalling stories of how voluntary work was crucial to support the soldiers of WW1, and to help life for their families and communities back home.  We will emphasise and show how there has been a continuity of volunteering over the intervening 100 years; an uninterrupted history of volunteers supporting communities and aiding individuals.

During WW1, many people volunteered as nurses in military hospitals and for vital roles in food production and distribution.  Today, hospitals are still supported by a range of volunteers and food distribution to those in need is, in large part, still done by volunteers.  From ‘then’ to ‘now’, volunteering remains just as important, and just as rewarding for those who do volunteer.

The campaign hopes to target those who haven’t considered volunteering before. It should encourage more members of the public in Suffolk to recognise the many types of volunteering that are available, and then go on to apply for such roles through Volunteer Suffolk (

Support our campaign, add roles like this onto Volunteer Suffolk this October

The build up to the campaign starts now with organisations like yours adding as many volunteering roles as you can onto Volunteer Suffolk that are either 1) linked to the First World War – soup kitchens, family support, hospitals, nurses, chaplains, transport, animal welfare, or 2) your most interesting and engaging volunteering opportunities your organisation has that would appeal to people between the ages of 14 and 40!

Support our campaign, send us your volunteering good news stories of then (and now)

To give the campaign a human touch, we are appealing to our Volunteer Managers and Coordinators to give us the name of any Suffolk residents who would enjoy sharing their family’s stories and images of volunteering in WW1! Also we are looking to talk with families of generations of volunteers: are you a volunteer, was your parent a volunteer and are there young people in your family volunteering today?

We are looking for two case studies, and for someone who doesn’t mind us recording them sharing their story! Also, if your village or someone you know is interested in highlighting or adding a relevant role onto Volunteer Suffolk, that ties in ‘Then and Now’ please let us know!

IMAGE: Belle Vue VAD Hospital, volunteers and its patients during WW1. Image courtesy of Sudbury CAB

The campaign launch

Once we have our Suffolk stories, the campaign will be launched by George Vestey, High Sheriff. It will conclude on Armistice Day. Members of the public will be encouraged to visit Volunteer Suffolk to look at the range and breadth of volunteer opportunities available NOW. (Hence the importance to add, refresh or reactivate your volunteering roles!)

Should you wish to submit a story via email please send it to Jo Belfield, Volunteering Services Officer, at [email protected].

A question template can be downloaded here or posted to you.

Best wishes, Jo Belfield

See next page for Case Study →