GOOD Samaritans selflessly working to improve the lives of thousands in Swindon will be honoured on Friday as part of the 30th anniversary of Volunteers Week.
Men and women who have given up their time to support local charities, groups, schools and hospitals over the years will be recognised at a ceremony staged by the Volunteer Centre at Christ Church Community Centre in Old Town.
Over the decades, the need for volunteering has not only grown tremendously but become an opportunity for residents to gain new skills and enrich their lives.
“There is so much to be celebrated,” said Jo Banks, employee volunteering advisor at Volunteer Centre Swindon. Volunteers are an amazing group of people. “The whole aim of of Volunteers Week is to recognise their value, contribution and importance.
“And it is also to ensure more people volunteer in Swindon. There is a real need for it. “There are so many charities and organisations like housing support groups, the Citizens Advice Bureau or Prospect, which has 900 volunteers.”
She added: “People get that feel-good factor from helping, particularly now that there is a lot of unemployment.
“There is a real variety of opportunities and actually volunteering is a great way of improving your CV, and learning new skills or keeping up your skill set. “Particularly with socially isolated people, it’s a way of improving their wellbeing.”
Volunteer Centre Swindon promotes the volunteering opportunities of local charities and community groups and helps people interested find a suitable role.
Jane Butler, development manager at Voluntary Action Swindon, an organisation working in close partnership with the volunteer centre, added: “We want to recognise the people who give up their time to help others.
“There is so much bad press about people not doing anything. But a lot of people give up their time and are not paid for it.
“If Volunteers Week doesn’t achieve anything else we want people to realise that a lot of people give an awful lot. “Without them a lot of organisations couldn’t function.”
The event at Christ church community centre will run between 4pm and 6pm. To find out more about volunteering opportunities go to http://www.swindonvolunteers.org.uk.
To find out more about Voluntary Action Swindon visit http://www.vas-swindon.org.
Volunteers Week will end on Saturday.