Step forward and be counted
PEOPLE in Comet country are being encouraged to do a good deed and become a volunteer. There is currently a shortage of 25,000 volunteers in Hertfordshire with only 20 per cent of people in Stevenage and 30 per cent of people in North Herts doing a good d
PEOPLE in Comet country are being encouraged to do a good deed and become a volunteer.
There is currently a shortage of 25,000 volunteers in Hertfordshire with only 20 per cent of people in Stevenage and 30 per cent of people in North Herts doing a good deed.
So now the Volunteering Centre in Exchange Road, Stevenage, is encouraging people to take advantage of more than 450 opportunities across the district.
A spokesman for the centre said: "We have got to increase the number of volunteers in Hertfordshire by three per cent. But a lot of people don't know volunteering centres are there and people are so busy that they don't realise how needy people are and how many opportunities are out there.
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"It is a commitment but people can give as little or as much time as they want.
"There are never any areas that have too many volunteers."
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There are a variety of volunteering opportunities on offer from preparing meals at the North Herts Sanctuary in Hitchin and driving people with disabilities and the elderly to the doctors, dentist or supermarket to becoming a volunteer dog walker for The Cinnamon Trust which supports elderly and terminally ill and designing charity websites.
Carol Le Grand at Mencap, who is seeking volunteers, said: "Volunteers are at the heart of what Mencap do and we just would not be able to survive without them.
"Our volunteers befriend and support people with learning disabilities either on a one to one basis or by helping us at group outings.
"This can involve taking people on trips to the cinema, swimming, shopping or even ice skating.
"We are always looking for more people to help and it's not all about work, the volunteers get to have as much fun as those who they support.
"Our volunteers enable people with learning difficulties and their families to have a better quality of life. Giving a little time to help others makes such a big difference."
The Garden House Hospice in Letchworth is currently looking for qualified volunteer hairdressers and beauty therapists to provide a service to patients as well as kitchen helpers to make and serve refreshments, flower arranging helpers and day hospice volunteers to help with activities and provide emotional and practical support to patients.
Lesley Glover, voluntary services manager, said: "Volunteers play an enormous part in helping Garden House Hospice to run smoothly and efficiently. Approximately 350 volunteers work in the four different areas of the organisation: Hospice; Day Hospice; Hospice at Home and Retail - all giving of their time to support patients and their families. We are indebted to them all."
Stevenage Furniture Recycling Scheme also values its volunteers because without them the scheme would not be able to function.
Faye Lloyd, project manager, said: "With their help, each month, the scheme is able to support over 300 Stevenage residents, encourage over 100 donors to recycle and to save almost five tonnes of unwanted items from landfill."
Anyone can volunteer so long as they are 16 years of age or above. However, certain opportunities require their volunteers to be 18 and over. There are no set restrictions on the amount of time required for people to give to volunteering but government targets are trying to encourage people to try and give an average of two hours a week or more.
Anyone interested in volunteering should visit www.volunteeringherts.org or www.doit.org.uk for local volunteer opportunities.