This Volunteers’ Week, Suffolk is recognising the difference volunteers make to the voluntary sector.
From 1st – 7th June, charities across Suffolk are celebrating the thousands of residents who make Suffolk a better place to live and thrive by volunteering. Using the hashtags #VolunteersWeek and #VolunteerSuffolk, charities can join the conversation and raise awareness of volunteering for their organisation.
The week comes as many charities across Suffolk are looking to recruit volunteers. By raising awareness, the hope is that they will attract more people willing to give to their communities.
One charity looking for volunteers is Home-Start in Suffolk. With a dedicated network of 270 volunteers, the charity is able to support families across the county.
Their efforts are clearly making a difference. Supported by a telephone volunteer, a mum was grateful for the help she received for her and her son.
“She has helped me deal with my son and his emotional turmoil through many things, and has also aided me with how to approach certain difficult subjects. I thank her dearly for this. I would feel very lost without my weekly conversation with Nicola at the moment,” she said.
Tara Spence, CEO of Home-Start in Suffolk, recognises the contribution that volunteers make to the charity.
“Volunteers are the heart of our organisation and without them and their continued commitment we would not be able to support families in the same way. We are extremely grateful to our amazing volunteers for all that they do. We could not do it without them,” she said.
Community Action Suffolk will be taking the opportunity to thank volunteers, too. Launched as a direct response to Covid-19 pandemic, its ‘Buddy Up’ project has been ‘life-changing’ to those facing loneliness in Suffolk.
The project sees volunteers partnered with individuals to build a relationship. From chatting on the phone to dropping off plants or having outdoor meetups, these relationships are making a huge difference.
Chris Abraham, Chief Executive for Community Action Suffolk, is pleased at the way the project has evolved.
“What started as a response to supporting people self-isolating during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic is now also tackling and responding to loneliness more broadly,” she says. “We’re delighted to work with Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council on this project, supporting groups as they help people to reconnect with their communities.”
Community Action Suffolk will also be thanking volunteers tackling food poverty at Your Local Pantry in Kirkley. Launched in 2020, Your Local Pantry is a network of community food stores creating a sustainable solution to food poverty and helping the UK save money on their food bills.
Kirkley in Lowestoft is one of the most deprived areas in the UK. Volunteers help the pantry increase the impact in the local community, helping the community feel that Kirkley is a good place to live. Without them, the Kirkley Pantry would not be open at all.
As part of Volunteers’ Week, Community Action Suffolk will be launching a new survey to understand the impact of volunteering in Suffolk communities and plan for the future. The survey will ask Suffolk residents why they may or may not volunteer.
If you are interested in volunteering in Suffolk, you can visit www.volunteersuffolk.org.uk or call 01473 345400 to find out more. To help Community Action Suffolk understand the impact of volunteering and plan for the future, you can spend a moment to complete this survey.