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Volunteers’ Week 2024 3-9 June 2024

Updated: Jun 10

This week, 3rd to 9th June, we are celebrating Volunteers’ Week and putting our hands together to applaud the many people who freely give their time and skills to support our staff, and the people who use our services. 


As proud recipients of the Queens Voluntary Service Award, as well as cooking, helping people navigate the complexities of housing and other support services, and lending a listening ear, our team of over 50 volunteers help with food runs, admin support, wrap-around care, take people to essential appointments or quietly support people with their life challenges, giving reassurance, keeping them connected and engaged, and reducing the risk of mental health relapse.


Behind the scenes we have our volunteer Board of Trustees who bring with them a wealth of experience to ensure the charity is run professionally and adheres to all the regulations set out by the Charity Commission.


Plus, there are many other local businesses, professionals and individuals giving their time, expertise and skills to support the charity with other aspects such as delivering healthcare services, painting and decorating, maintenance, branding, marketing and communications and fundraising.


Emily Bell, Chair of Trustees, says “This week celebrates our volunteers, their dedication and commitment to the charity and their passion for supporting others.


Like so many other charities, without our amazing team of volunteers, we simply couldn’t exist. Thank you so much to everyone for coming together to help make a positive difference to vulnerable people’s lives.


We are so grateful for your support and we’re looking forward to celebrating and personally thanking everyone with a special volunteer afternoon tea this week.”


Rose Greenslade, Day Centre Manager, says: “Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Our Board of Trustees include military personnel, and professionals from a range of business sectors, while our volunteers in the day centre include GPs, nurses, teachers, communications, surveyors and IT managers.


By working collaboratively our volunteers are enabling vulnerable people to work towards gaining confidence in themselves, overcome challenges and develop life skills. They are creating opportunities for people to improve literacy skills, explore their creative side, gain work experience and more; quite simply, our volunteers are making a huge difference to people experiencing homelessness.”


Meet Our Volunteers!



Marion was an infant school teacher and retired at 59. She wanted to volunteer in a different field and saw an advert for a hub in Wolverhampton supporting people experiencing homelessness. When she moved to Shrewsbury in 2016, she continued volunteering in this field at The Ark. Marion has always enjoyed cooking as a hobby and wanted to move away from teaching so decided to use her cooking skills to support others.


Marion has worked consistently with The Ark for seven years and enjoys looking through whatever food supplies are in and creating a feast. In the previous Ark location Marion cooked for 20+ people in a tiny kitchen and appreciates the larger space we have now. The contrast between the two buildings was quite stark and she says the new calm atmosphere is lovely to work in. Marion enjoys working with all the characters and is a firm favorite with staff and clients.


Vu has volunteered for seven years. Starting in the old Ark, she feels the new venue has much more room and food serving space. Vu wanted to cook at The Ark although she’s a bit shy, she felt that as she can cook she would be useful – and she certainly is!


Vu now likes meeting people and has learnt a lot through volunteering: “people have had incredible bad luck and the short life expectancy of people experiencing homelessness is terrible. People can be very cruel and judge you if you are homeless, which is horrible. Some people experience difficult mental health problems and despite being unwell are wonderful people. “


Phil has volunteered for two years: “I volunteered because I heard about The Ark from Howard Hutchins (former Trustee) and I wanted to help but was working in the day.” Phil has always been interested in housing/homelessness and has supported Charities that care for people experiencing homelessness. In his working life Phil was a Museum Officer and Duty Officer at Shrewsbury Museum, and previously worked at Shropshire Archives.


Phil enjoys his volunteering role and finds it nice to chat but easier to chat when preparing food. Phil enjoys seeing clients in town and feeling connected as we are all the same.


Phil says: “I always wanted to help people experiencing homelessness and now I feel that, rather than giving cash, I am doing something proactive and helpful. People cope in different ways with issues surrounding homelessness and some people have more practice and resilience. People come to homelessness in so many ways – people are individuals.”







Why volunteer?

An estimated 14.2m people in the UK have volunteered through a group, club or organisation at least once in 2021/22.

According to the UK CIVIL SOCIETY ALMANAC 2023 the top reasons people volunteer is because they want to improve things/help people.

Other motivations include a personal connection to the cause and spare time to volunteer (30%).

Being a volunteer is an incredibly positive experience for individuals and is great for personal wellbeing, gaining new skills and boosting confidence.

 

 

Do you have a skill and would like to spend time helping us and supporting others?

Whether it’s a one-off or sustained support, we’d love to hear from you

If you would like to come to an open day to talk about what you could do, please email Kim at ark@shrewsburyark.co.uk

 

How could you help?

We have plenty of opportunities such as:

·       Working in the kitchen (cooking, serving, washing up),

·       Supporting our administration, answering phones and helping with systems,

·       Cleaning & organising supplies and donations,

·       Supporting our Charity Shop – serving customers, sorting donations and organising and tidying,

·       Offering a friendly ear to our clients.

 

No matter what your skills, talents (or even hidden talents!) are we’d love your support. For instance:

·       If you have a hobby or activity that you love, could you show our clients?

·       Can you support with literacy and learning life skills?

·       Are you a hairdresser? Having a haircut can make a huge difference to someone’s self-esteem.

Volunteering is a two-way street - we want you to enjoy your time with us, feel like you are doing something worthwhile and look forward to coming in again.

Whatever your interests or skills we can find a role that suits you.


Support us to support others

We NEVER charge for our services and we are funded entirely by grants and donations.


Thank you to everyone who supports us! Everything we are able to do is because of your generosity.

If you would like to volunteer for us at Shrewsbury Ark get in touch! We have lots of volunteer opportunities. Email us at volunteer@shrewsburyark.co.uk or telephone us via 01743 363305 to register an interest.


You can support us to help people make positive changes in their lives by:

· Making a donation via our page on the Charities Aid Foundation. Click here to make a regular or one-off donation online now. (Please remember to Gift Aid your donation – This means we will receive tax benefits and help ensure your donation goes further.)

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