People are being encouraged to get involved with various volunteering projects across County Durham in support of Volunteers Week.
Volunteers Week takes place between June 1 and 7, and celebrates the contribution made by millions of volunteers across the UK.
Last year over 4,500 people volunteered with Durham County Council supporting everything from litter picks and libraries to festivals and family support schemes.
One of the volunteers, Wilf Proctor (pictured above), loved the satisfaction he gets from being a local history volunteer for the DLI collection: “I have carried out a range of tasks over my 12 years volunteering. Researching, logging and listing, and talking to families who contribute artefacts to understand the history of them.
“I started volunteering because of my interest in military history and the link to my own life as I was born and brought up in the Second World War.”
Volunteering provides a range of benefits including:
• Meeting new people, making friends and having fun
• Learning new skills and improving your career prospects
• Boosting confidence and self esteem
• Allowing you to take on new challenges and try new things
To recognise this, an event was held last week to celebrate the support volunteers have given to children’s services. Over 40 volunteers attended from a range of projects from Autism Support Groups and Credit Union to Play and Stay sessions and craft groups.
Felicity Bradley, a family support outreach worker, spoke at the event about how volunteering helped her into employment. “Volunteering is the best thing I have ever done,” she said.
“I am now in full time employment so don’t ever give up on your dreams you will get there in the end.”
Wednesday, 14 June will see more volunteers, both groups and individuals recognised at the County Durham Volunteering celebration event at Beamish Museum, organised by Durham Community Action.
From Monday 5 to Friday, 9 June, residents are also invited to find out about volunteering opportunities available in their local library. Staff will be holding roadshows across the five days to make people aware of the different ways they can get involved, including being a digital buddy or story teller, and also signing up new members.
Roadshows will take place at various places around the county, including Newton Aycliffe Library on Thursday (June 8) from 10am until noon.
Julie Lavery, volunteer and skills manager at Durham County Council said: “Our volunteers are truly invaluable and we want to say a big thank you to everyone who volunteers with us.
“Each one of them makes a huge difference and many events and activities wouldn’t be able to go ahead without the generous people that give up their time.
“We’re always on the lookout for new volunteers and I would encourage anyone thinking about it to find out more.”
Inspired to volunteer? Check out all of the opportunities available at the council and throughout County Durham at www.durham.gov.uk/volunteering