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ThriveWorking together in Trafford

Volunteers Week – ‘Thank You’ 1st to 7th June 2020

Volunteers are invaluable in the support and value they bring to the VCSE sector in Trafford. They are essential in supporting in many communities, making a difference in places as diverse as friends of parks groups, sports clubs, libraries, schools and hospitals.

Normally hundreds of Volunteer celebration events would be taking place across the country to mark Volunteers’ Week, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic these have been cancelled. The annual campaign, which was established in 1984, recognises the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak over the past 12 weeks we have seen an enormous community response, with over 560 volunteers register to offer their support in many different ways through Thrive alone.

For many Voluntary, Community, Social Enterprise and charities the week is a chance to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities on offer.

We also want to showcase some of different ways people have been volunteering across Trafford especially recently throughout the pandemic, and showcase what the impact of volunteering has had on their lives Check out the case studies below:

If you would like more information on any of the case studies below or have any volunteering opportunities please email caroline.lewis@thrivetrafford.org.uk

Volunteering when Furloughed Case Study - Steve - The Bread and Butter Thing


1) Where do you Volunteer, and how long have you been a Volunteer?

I volunteer at The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT) in Trafford Park, I started volunteering early April towards the start of Lockdown.

2) What do you do as a Volunteer?

My main role is as Volunteer Coordinator, it is my responsibility to ensure we have enough feet on the ground to fulfil the orders for that day whilst ensuring we do not overpopulate the warehouse and break and social distancing guidelines.

3) What was your motivation for starting to Volunteer?

When the pandemic hit, and lockdown was implemented, it was a natural reaction to get out and help others less fortunate and in these unprecedented times. I applied for a number of charities from Spirit of Salford to the NHS Volunteer responders, due to high demand there was little availability for additional volunteers. Jane the CFO of TBBT had emailed out to the Greater Manchester Housing Partnership (GMHP) looking for a volunteer coordinator, this request landed in my boss’s inbox and without hesitation was forwarded over to me as they know I have been itching to help in any way possible.

4) How has your Volunteer role benefitted you personally?

There are many benefits to volunteering, and some are pretty obvious, like satisfaction that you are helping those less fortunate and giving something back to the community around you.
The less obvious benefits for me have been keeping busy and socially interactive. I thrive on human interaction and being able to see and talk to people, whilst ensuring the social distancing guidelines, has helped with both my mental and physical wellbeing. I literally will speak to hundreds of people each week doing this role and I get to see all of them at some point over the week.

Also, I think I have the easiest job within TBBT, whether a member of staff or a volunteer I have seen everyone adjust, develop and gel together. Watching the operations become smoother and slicker whilst demand has increased, If I didn’t believe in what everyone was doing I wouldn’t be able to see what a wonderful charity this is.

5) What difference do you think you have made through Volunteering? i.e. people, community, environment etc

The biggest difference I feel I have made has to be around the metal health and wellbeing of our volunteers. We all have mental health, but only ever think of this when it comes to being negatively affected. During the pandemic I have spoken to so many people who are sitting at home bored, lonely & isolated, his can cause problems. So, by asking all our volunteers to commit to 1 to 3 shifts a week we have brought some form of structure to their week, this also allows interactions with the same people, so friendships and social interactions are happening which has all had a positive effect on the volunteers.

6) In 3 words sum up what Volunteering means to you?

Satisfaction
Motivation
Achievement

7) What advice would you give to someone who is considering Volunteering?

Don’t sit there and think about it, get out and try it.

For more information on how you can volunteer with the Bread and Butter Thing Click Here

Paula Pearson – Chair of Friends of Gorse Hill Park

1) Where do you Volunteer, and how long have you been a Volunteer?

I am currently volunteering within Gorse Hill Park and have been volunteering with the group over the past 18 months. I also have just recently started up a Breakfast Club to encourage more local residents to socialise and have a chat together

2) What do you do as a Volunteer?

I currently Chair the Friends of group and also help to promote the use of the park to local people and families, and try to encourage people to respect and keep the park clean and tidy for other people to enjoy

3) What was your motivation for starting to Volunteer?

Unfortunately I had to give up work due to health problems, and therefore decided that I wanted to still keep active and get back into socialising with other people. I wanted to get to know people in Stretford so, initially started volunteering with Friends of Victoria Park.

4) How has your Volunteer role benefitted you personally?

Volunteering has helped to boost my confidence and also enabled me to get to know more people in the local area.

5) What difference do you think you have made through Volunteering? i.e. people, community, environment etc

I think the litter picking has worked well with people with mental health conditions, I have been able to keep people updated with what’s going on in the park through our Facebook page. And since the committee for the park has changed in the last 18 months residents have said they feel safer, and that more people are now wanting to use the park.The park is now staying cleaner, and there seems to be less anti-social behaviour.

6) In 3 words sum up what Volunteering means to you?

Sense of achievement
Confidence boosting
Happiness

7) What advice would you give to someone who is considering Volunteering?

Do something you enjoy, find out what’s going on in your local area, there’s always something someone can help volunteer with. I was chatting to an older lady in the park who had a lot of health conditions who said that she’d really like to be able to help out and use to be a keen gardener, but said she couldn’t do anything with her health problems. I suggested that she grow some seeds for the the park, and that way she was doing her bit to volunteer with the park.

For more information on how you can volunteer with Friends of Gorse Hill Park please visit – Friends of Gorse Hill Park

Retired Volunteer - Healthwatch Trafford
Peter Longmire – Administration Volunteer Healthwatch
1) Where do you Volunteer, and how long have you been a Volunteer?
I currently volunteer at Healthwatch Trafford, but previously I have been a volunteer for two charities, one in Spain and one in Altrincham, and also at Transport Museum in London.
I have been a volunteer for 13 years altogether in different posts

2) What do you do as a Volunteer?
I currently provide admin support to Healthwatch Trafford one morning a week.

3) What was your motivation for starting to Volunteer?
Originally, I wanted to help the charity that I began volunteering with, which needed help in the shop doing a variety of tasks.
My motivation for continuing to volunteer is that as a retired person now, I like to keep active in body and mind, I have time at my disposal, and I can draw upon skills and experience gained in life which hopefully benefits the organisation I work for, plus it keeps these skills alive. I also enjoy working in a team and the social interaction that results.

4) How has your Volunteer role benefited you personally?
I have never thought of how it benefits me personally. But I guess because I get pleasure from being involved and doing what I do, that in itself is good for me. I have met some very interesting people through volunteering.

5) What difference do you think you have made through Volunteering? i.e. people, community, environment etc
I would like to think that the skills and experience I have gained in life through my various jobs and my personality has enabled the various organisations that I have worked for as a volunteer to benefit. A former boss at one of the charities called me her mentor which was not only very nice, but she told me she could always rely on me for good advice and that if I said I would do it, I could be relied on to do it without any problems, which she said was so valuable to have someone like that helping.

6) In 3 words sum up what Volunteering means to you?
Rewarding,
fulfilling,
enjoyable

7) What advice would you give to someone who is considering Volunteering?
Try it! Sometimes it can be difficult to make the first move, and not all organisations who use volunteers focus as much as they should on volunteer welfare or training. So it can sometimes result in volunteers feeling overlooked and undervalued. This happened to me. So I just left and looked round for something else. My move to Healthwatch Trafford was a very good move – I am very happy there and I feel very valued. It’s a good way of meeting people, gaining new skills when young, or keeping those skills in working order when older. And the main thing is I feel I am giving back just a little to the community.

For more information on how you can volunteer with Healthwatch please visit – https://healthwatchtrafford.co.uk/get-involved/volunteer/

Volunteering facts
• In 2015, volunteering output contributed an estimated £22.6bn to the UK economy. This is equivalent to approximately 1.2% of GDP.
• In 2016/17, 19.8 million (37%) people in the UK volunteered formally at least once a year and 11.9 million (22%) of people did so at least once a month.
• There are 165,801 voluntary organisations in the UK, many of whom rely on volunteers.
• Lots of volunteering also takes place within the public and private sector. For example, there are an estimated 3 million people volunteering in health and care.
For more statistics visit https://data.ncvo.org.uk/a/almanac17/volunteering-overview/