National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognising and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage with their communities. It is all about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the centre of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.

Changing Lives has been celebrating National Volunteer Week this year from 1-7th June, which is a time dedicated to demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the empathy to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.

This year we are celebrating 50th anniversary of Changing Lives and 50 years of volunteering as the charity has been stablished in 1970 by a group of volunteers.

Our first celebration of volunteering this year took place at Doncaster Women’s Centre on 18th May, where our volunteers and staff prepared a shared lunch, Prize Bingo, Wellbeing crafts, video chats from volunteers and volunteers were given thank you cards and vouchers. The event was very well attended and we‘ve had a chance to say a big thank you to our volunteers.

As part of National Volunteering Week, we’ve also had events on this week, starting on Wednesday 2nd June. The Northumberland Recovery Partnership volunteers arranged a walk, with a meeting place to stop and have a picnic. Newcastle Treatment and Recovery volunteers started their walk in Whitley Bay and NRP volunteers started in Blyth. They met half way along the beach at Seaton Sluice, where they stopped and had a picnic and an ice cream.

Our main event is a virtual get together today (Friday 4th June) through Teams and volunteers will be thanked by Stephen Bell, CEO as well as two board members and the National Volunteer Manager. The event has been organised by our three Volunteer Coordinators, Rebecca Tait, Hayley Steel and Vicky Middleton with support from our Comms team. It will be a fun event with breakfast competition, Changing Lives volunteers’ presentation with videos/photos/quotes, Scavenger Hunt, Quiz, and volunteer stories about their experience of volunteering at Changing Lives.

We are also hosting an event at Doncaster Women’s Centre where our volunteer counsellors will meet in July and share coffee and cake while reflecting upon their experiences and volunteering during the pandemic times.

Here is the quote of one of our volunteers, which can summarise the benefit of a volunteer giving back their precious time to help people we support:

“I am quite fortunate that I have people in my life that care a great deal for me but not everyone does. For some, charities and support groups are their only chance of receiving the support they need to overcome the challenges they face. Giving back to this community and making a difference to others the way it has made a difference to me is a good thing that I am proud to be a part of”.

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