We’re getting ready to celebrate Volunteers’ Week

PROVIDING vital transport to a doctor’s appointment, assisting young offenders to get back onto the right track or supporting victims of crime and abuse – these are just some of the vital roles being carried out by volunteers across North East Lincolnshire.

Scores of such volunteering opportunities are to be highlighted during a special day-long event, being held at the Riverhead just outside Freshney Place, to mark National Volunteers Week, which runs from June 1 to June 7. This is an annual event that gives organisations the opportunity to celebrate with and recognise volunteers they have.

On the Thursday of this week – June 6 – ‘Hattie’, Humber Stagecoach’s bright pink community bus will join a whole host of organisations at the event from 10am until 3pm. Organised by the area’s Volunteering Development Service, managed by VANEL (Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire), it is intended to showcase the wide variety of roles on offer and how people can get involved.

VANEL’s Volunteer Centre Support Worker, Liz Dugard said: “We hope that by bringing all of these different groups together in one place, we can emphasise to the public just how important volunteering is – both for those who need support and those who give their time to offer it. It is also hoped that visitors will be encouraged to join in too!”

Those exhibiting on the day will include Humber and Wolds Rural Action, which needs more drivers in the Grimsby area for its Voluntary Car Service.

Representative Carole Foster said: “Drivers are needed for all sorts of reasons, to help elderly passengers to use the shops, or visit the doctor or dentist. It is a really important service and just takes a few hours of a person’s time but can mean so much.”

The service wants volunteers to use their own vehicles (they pay 45p a mile to volunteer drivers for their journeys, and anyone interested can call Carole on 01652 637700).

Meanwhile, the Youth Offending Service is looking for people over 18 to act as appropriate adults and mentors, and the Victim Support Service also welcomes adult volunteers. Jess Pearson is a volunteer with the latter and her work has included assisting a female refugee who had suffered hate crime.

“The person was a similar age to me, and it was support she needed in knowing where things were in the local area, where she could get advice from and helping her to gain more confidence. Before I started, full training was provided and there is also the opportunity to attend more paid-for training if you are interested,” said Jess.

The Blue Lights Brigade are looking for retired emergency service workers to join them to help local people as Community Emergency Response Team members and support their local communities in times of extreme weather events and other local emergencies. Call Steve or Lucy on 01472 245510 to find our more.

The organisations there on the day will be: VANEL’s Volunteering Development Service; IGNITE (young leaders); Blue Lights Brigade (emergency response volunteers): Youth Offending Service; Humber and Wolds Rural Action; Friendship at Home; YMCA; Big Local; Bee Aviators; Capacity Buildings; Neighbourhood Watch North East Lincolnshire.