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Celebrate Volunteers Week With Voluntary Action Orkney

Volunteers’ Week 2022 is running between 1–7th June and Voluntary Action Orkney (VAO) are asking local organisations to get involved.

VAO’s Chief Executive, Gail Anderson said:

“Orkney would not be such a strong, vibrant community without the on-going commitment of local people of all ages who so generously donate their time, talents, and enthusiasm to a variety of activities. The contribution made by volunteers during the pandemic was essential in ensuring the most vulnerable in our community were supported. Volunteers Week provides an opportunity for us all to celebrate our local volunteers and to say “thank you””

Now in its 38th year, Volunteers’ Week is a UK wide celebration of volunteering with thousands of charities and voluntary groups thanking volunteers for the time, talents, and huge difference they make.  Last year over 600 Volunteers’ Week events took place across the UK including thank you tea parties and barbecues, and organisations promoted volunteer roles such as gardeners, befrienders, shop helpers, dog walkers, and committee members.

VAO would love to hear from groups planning Volunteers’ Week 2022 activities and have some ideas and resources to help. You could organise a Big Lunch thank you for your volunteers, post a message on your social media using the special templates on the Volunteers Week 2022 website or you could email a thank you certificate to each of your volunteers.

For Volunteers’ Week this year VAO will be featuring a window display and webpage of volunteer stars from around the county and are asking organisations to get involved in this to celebrate that Orkney’s got volunteering talent! Organisations can thank groups or specific individuals – the more stars the merrier. All VAO need is the name of your organisation, what your volunteers do and a photo/image – they will do the rest. VAO can also promote any volunteering opportunities for organisations on their website and social media pages – just complete and return a Volunteer Opportunity form at https://www.vaorkney.org.uk/volunteering/i-need-volunteers/

Volunteering in Orkney has never been so important. The profile of volunteering has been raised in recent years especially due to the pandemic and more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by volunteers.

Sam Stringer, VAO Volunteer Development Worker said :

“We have been delighted at Voluntary Action Orkney to see volunteering opportunities reopening across Orkney this year and new folk have been getting in touch offering to volunteer.  Volunteer help is invaluable to local organisations who continue to face many challenges and changes, and volunteers enable vital community groups and services to keep going.  Volunteering offers great benefits to each volunteer too, as they can learn new skills, meet new people, build up confidence and gain valuable work experience to apply for paid work.”

Examples of the benefits to individuals and organisations of volunteering are:

Lifestyles Services in Kirkwall have been supported by five volunteers this year who do gardening and woodwork activities with adults with learning disabilities.

Alison Bews, Senior Lifestyles Co-Ordinator, said:

“together they provide us with 40 hours of volunteering a week and one of our volunteers has applied for relief work and been successful in their application.” 

Kate came to Orkney in 2021 to study at Orkney college and wanted to volunteer to get to know the area and meet people. At the beginning of 2022 she volunteered at Orkney Library and Archive as a researcher and more recently she has been fundraising for the British Heart Foundation.

Kate said:

“I’d thoroughly recommend people to volunteer! There are so many things you can do, and many don’t require skills or specialist knowledge or ability, maybe just a bit of time. You can do things which benefit so many different things, like the environment or historic places or elderly and vulnerable people. And by helping other people you’re helping yourself; volunteering is great for mental health and physical health.”

Daniel has been volunteering with Orkney Zero Waste, The Yard nursery and with Kirkwall Red Cross shop. Daniel said:

“I volunteer writing size tags and putting them on clothes ready to sell in the Red Cross shop. At Zero Waste I help clean up donations and at The Yard I help water plants if it has been a dry day.” Daniel enjoys volunteering to help other people but also says that “volunteering helps my social skills and helps me feel useful.”  Ellie Sinclair, Red Cross Shop Manager, said volunteers “give us another set of helping hands and volunteers like Daniel are great company for me – I benefit from volunteers being here as much as they benefit from coming.”

As part of Volunteers’ Week this year VAO will be running drop-in information sessions in Kirkwall for anyone interested in volunteering in Orkney. Everyone is welcome and no need to book, just drop by for a blether.

Monday 6th June 12-2pm – VAO office on Bridge Street

Tuesday 7th June 9.30am-11am – Job Centre

To get involved in Volunteers’ Week 2022 or for further information about volunteering in Orkney, visit www.vaorkney.org.uk or contact Volunteer Development Worker, Sam Stringer Samantha.Stringer@vaorkney.org.uk  01856 872 897 extension 311.

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