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The future of volunteering in Suffolk

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A new strategy has been developed to support the future of volunteering in Suffolk and has been unanimously endorsed by Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

Almost every aspect of Suffolk life benefits and enjoys the successes from volunteering, from sports clubs and arts organisations, churches and community centres to public services such as schools, hospitals and community safety.

To make Suffolk a county where people are encouraged, inspired and enabled to volunteer, Community Action Suffolk (CAS) was asked to lead on bringing together the strategy which involved working in partnership with the private, public and voluntary and community sectors. This strategy will provide the strong framework needed for volunteering to be effectively supported and promoted.

Christine Abraham, Deputy Chief Executive at CAS, said:

“There is already a lot of good volunteering happening in Suffolk of which we can all be proud and CAS has been collating information through its Grow Your Community campaign. The new volunteering strategy builds on the many successes and will enable more people to get involved and create a stronger communities in Suffolk. We were encouraged by all contributions and positivity in putting this strategy together and would like to thank everyone involved in the process.”

The strategy will also support the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board’s aims of building community capacity, reducing health inequalities, health and social care integration and prevention.

Councillor Alan Murray, Chairman of Suffolk’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“The value and contribution that volunteers make to our community cannot be underestimated. At a time when Suffolk organisations are collaborating more than ever before to support people to live well and prosper, we must do all we can to value and support our many volunteers in Suffolk.

People choose to volunteer for many reasons: they may want to help others or to develop new skills and meet new people. Whatever the reason, volunteers not only deliver inestimable benefit to people they support, they also help to make Suffolk a healthier and happier place to live.”

Put simply, volunteering works. When people freely give their time and skills, something magical happens. In 2013/14, 27% of adults said they formally volunteer at least once a month [UK Civil Society Almanac 2015] and the volunteering strategy will help find innovative ways to create volunteering opportunities for people from all walks of life.

Following the endorsement of the Health and Wellbeing Board, work will now begin on bringing the strategy to life by creating an action plan. All partners will continue to work together to achieve this, to bring the benefits of volunteering to the residents of Suffolk, and providing the services that they need.

For more information about the volunteering strategy or to be involved in the action planning, contact Carolyn Shaw at CAS on 01473 321018 or [email protected]

Read the volunteering strategy here.