Volunteers’ Week celebrates the people who make the difference

The Aldingbourne Trust, which supports adults with learning disabilities, celebrating Volunteers Week
The Aldingbourne Trust, which supports adults with learning disabilities, celebrating Volunteers Week

Today marks the start of Volunteers’ Week, which this year is celebrating the difference people make in the community.

Those who offer their time to charities and organisations in their area help to prevent isolation, protect the environment and provide essential support.

Headway West Sussex trustee Kim Seex and charity manager Samantha Dewar-English

Headway West Sussex trustee Kim Seex and charity manager Samantha Dewar-English

Ben Hall, from the voluntary services team at St Barnabas House and Chestnut Tree House, said: “Our volunteers are amazing and are at the heart of everything we do at our adult hospice and our children’s hospice.

“Last year alone, the gift of their time was equal to a staggering £1.4 million. Without their help, the hospices simply couldn’t continue to provide vital care to local adults and children.”

Ali Nicholson, volunteer and enterprise co-ordinator at Worthing Churches Homeless Projects, said: “Every week from Monday to Thursday we have a team of volunteers who help at our breakfast club.

“They help cook and serve breakfast and help to create a warm and welcoming environment for our clients. There is no doubt that we would not be able to offer this service without the support of our volunteers.”

Tracy Milward, volunteer co-ordinator, at The Aldingbourne Trust, said: “Our story would not have been possible without the tireless commitment and contributions of hundreds of staff and volunteers.

“With more than 115 volunteers across the whole of the trust, we rely on our amazing volunteers to help us enrich the lives of the people we support. They help with important and meaningful projects, allowing the Aldingbourne Trust to make a real difference and a lot of fun is had along the way.

“Some of our volunteers have been with us for more than 20 years.”

Headway West Sussex is highlighting its support for West Sussex County Council’s Parent Volunteer Programme during Volunteers’ Week.

Manager Samantha Dewar-English said: “Having volunteers at Headway West Sussex is a real win-win. We get to meet great people with valuable skills to share and we hope that we can offer support, references and new skills. The Parent Volunteer Programme has been a really positive experience for us.”

The Age UK shops in Lancing and Littlehampton are calling on people to sign up as volunteers and help support the day-to-day running of the shops, which raise vital funds for the charity’s work with older people.

Chichester Diocesan Association for Family Support Work (FSW) has celebrated the achievements of 60 volunteers who have between them given 1,200 years’ service.

The charity held a lunch at St Nicholas Church, Brighton, on Tuesday and Peter-Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, presented awards.

Chairman Alyson Heath said: “I am humbled to work alongside these amazing volunteers. Their dedication to helping Sussex families is inspirational and they have all played a role in ensuring that FSW is an organisation that responds to local need.”

The volunteers have helped in different ways, including emotional support to vulnerable families, helping with respite holidays, delivering food boxes and driving children and their parents to appointments.

Mrs Julie Webb from Rustington has given more than 40 years’ service and is still actively involved, helping to promote the work of the family support worker in the area. She helped to develop a mediation service in the 1980s, which became the National Mediation Service.

FSW has eight qualified social workers for East and West Sussex, including those based in Worthing and Bognor Regis. They support families who are struggling with a range of difficulties in order to prevent them falling into crisis. To refer a family in need, call 01273 832963.