SELFLESS men and women who have strived to make Swindon a better place over the years were recognised for their commitment at a celebration marking the 30th anniversary of Volunteers Week.
More than 40 volunteers, who have consistently given up their time to support local charities, community groups or schools, were each handed a certificate by Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson at the ceremony staged by Volunteer Centre Swindon at Christ Church Community Centre on Friday.
Over the years the need for volunteering has increased but people have risen to the challenge, according to Volunteer Centre manager Sue Dunmore.
“Volunteers have a huge impact on life in Swindon,” she said. “Every volunteer is special. It’s about celebrating the ethos of volunteering and the people who give something back to the community, raising the profile of volunteering.”
Each volunteer was put forward for recognition by a charity, local club, community group or health service.
Dave Bell, who chairs Swindon Sport Forum and North Wilts Hockey Club and is also a governor at Dorcan Academy, among several other voluntary roles, was among those nominated for the accolade.
“I get asked to do these things and I love doing them,” said Dave, of Liden.
“You get involved in things if you think you can make a difference.
“For example with the hockey club, it’s an opportunity that should be there and if you don’t have people running the club it won’t continue.
“If you don’t have people volunteering and putting themselves forward the opportunities won’t be there.”
Fellow recipient Rosemarie Phillips, who volunteers at Christ Church Community Centre and is a South West representative for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, has been supporting local groups and residents since 1962.
“I love helping people,” said the 80-year-old from Old Town. “If you have spare time then it is wise to use it for the benefit of others.
“There are volunteer jobs that will suit everybody.
“There is always some little niche and some little place for your interest and for you to benefit somebody.”
Justin praised the volunteers for making a huge difference to their community.
He said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to pay tribute to our brilliant army of local volunteers for making such a real and tangible difference in the heart of our community.”
To find out more about volunteering, visit www.swindonvolunteers.org.uk