Volunteers donate around £100,000-worth of their time to Age UK B&NES, ensuring that the charity can provide a full range of services for older people.
These figures have been revealed to mark Volunteers’ Week, June 1st – 7th, an annual campaign that celebrates the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
Janet Dabbs, chief executive of Age UK B&NES, said: “We have around 150 volunteers who donate in the region of 11,000 hours of their time to support our work each year. Their work makes a big difference to the lives of so many older people and their carers, and I’d like to thank each and every one of them for getting involved.”
Mike Bell and his wife Sonja from Midsomer Norton have been volunteering with Age UK B&NES for the last three years. They said: “Sometimes an opportunity arises to do something you really believe in. Leading walks for health with Age UK B&NES was just that kind of situation and Sonja and I both leapt at getting involved.
“It was also a wonderful way for us, as new residents in the area, to make new friends and feel a part of the community. Similarly befriending through Age UK has given us both the opportunity to meet interesting local people.”
Kate from Bath explained why she volunteers: “I signed up to be a befriender whilst at the University of Bath. Age UK paired me up with Mrs S, a visually impaired lady in her 90s who lives down the road from me.
“Befriending is one of the best things I’ve done in my life. A couple of weeks after it started, it barely felt like volunteering any more, and now I’m pretty certain I get as much enjoyment out of the visits as Mrs S does. We’ve formed a really strong friendship (despite an almost 70 year age gap!). I help her with odd jobs about the house – reading out her post, making telephone calls etc.
“Most weeks, I just make us both a cup of tea and we catch up about our week, our families, friends, or gossip about Strictly Come Dancing!”
Age UK B&NES is a local charity that supports around 12,000 older people, their families and carers every year, with essential services. It has a small team of staff supported by volunteers.
The charity would like to hear from anyone who would like to get involved, even if they can only offer a few hours a month.
“There are all sorts of ways of getting involved, from providing practical help like shopping through to our befriending service,” Janet added. “I’d encourage anyone considering it to just get in touch with us for an informal chat.”