Support an organisation in your community this International Day of Charity

Charity / Wed 6th Sep 2023 at 07:06am

ON this year’s International Day of Charity, residents are being asked to consider how volunteering could provide vital support to a charity in their area.

Essex County Council’s Summer of Volunteering campaign aims to inspire residents to support their community by spreading the word about the many opportunities available in the county.

This week, marks International Day of Charity, when people around the world are encouraged to use the day as an opportunity to do some good.

Volunteering for just a few hours can make a huge difference to communities across Essex.

The benefits of volunteering include a sense of pride, an opportunity to make new friends and the chance to learn new skills and gain work experience.

Councillor Louise McKinlay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up and the Economy, said: “Volunteering plays a huge part in the work that charities do, enabling them to help communities, even more. 

“It is also hugely rewarding for the volunteers themselves and making a positive difference creates a feel-good factor for those who take part. 

“This International Day of Charity, why not consider volunteering either individually or as part of a group? It can help you learn new skills, improve teamwork and give something back to the community.”  

Malcolm Kimmance has volunteered with St Helena Hospice in Colchester for around six years. He works as part of the wider maintenance team for the hospice looking after the extensive St Helena estate. This includes the hospice itself, other facilities on the same site, administrative offices and many shops.

Malcolm said: “I support the team in the many and varied functions that they provide. As well as carrying out the usual maintenance tasks, the team provides other assistance to the organisation, including transporting medicines, blood tests and equipment to and from Colchester Hospital and collecting and delivering items in the north Essex area.

“When I sign in on a workday, I don’t know what I am going to do on that day, and that makes the job all the more interesting.  It could be anything from putting up a shelf in an office to checking that patients’ call buttons work properly to mending broken items of equipment.”

Malcolm initially signed up to volunteer with St Helena because he thought supporting the organisation would be a great way to use his spare time, and he hasn’t looked back since. 

He said: “I can see a direct line between what I am doing and the welfare of the patients and their families. I know that without the contribution that I and the many hundreds of St Helena volunteers provide, the service it offers would not be possible. It makes me proud to know that I am part of a very large group of people who are helping to provide care and support to people at a very difficult time in their lives.

“If you can find even a small part of your week to support the work of your favourite organisation, you will be delighted by how good it can make you feel, knowing that you have helped to make someone’s life better.”

Wendy Marcon, Voluntary Services Manager, People and Culture Team, at St Helena, said: “At St Helena Hospice we are lucky to have an incredible team of volunteers who contribute a range of skills, interests and individual experiences to support the care we offer to our patients and their families.  We have a variety of roles to suit everyone both in the hospice, the local community and in our retail teams.  

“No matter how much time anyone can offer for volunteering, you will be making a difference to the lives of people in need of hospice care in your local area. Volunteering is proven to be beneficial to health and wellbeing so it could give you a boost and make a difference to the lives of patients, their families and the general running of the organisation.”

Residents can find out more about the Essex Summer of Volunteering and the opportunities available in Essex at www.essex.gov.uk/volunteer.

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