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Celebrating Volunteers’ Week - Taking small steps and seeing new smiles

Celebrating Volunteers’ Week - Taking small steps and seeing new smiles

The bunting is out for Volunteers’ Week, the annual national celebration of volunteering. The Week is a chance for us to say a special thank you for the fantastic contribution of our volunteers and promote the huge range of opportunities to get involved.    

Since last April, there have been only 1 or 2 paid members of staff at any one time at Ripon Library, working alongside a team of volunteers from Ripon Library Action Group (RLAG). Many adjustments had to be made, but what a fantastic community resource we now have! 

40 to 50 regular volunteers help in a variety of ways, including children’s story times and computer coding club; craft and natter sessions; Star Wars and Harry Potter events. These plus a host of other one off or regular events have only been possible with the help of volunteers.

In addition volunteers are busy helping with the day to day running of the library; dealing with public enquiries and IT questions; picking reserved items and a lot more that you wouldn’t even realise goes on!

Team work and connections in the local community are an important part of volunteering, as Hazel Willis, Chair of RLAG explained:   

“The volunteer team has grown in confidence and we are still gaining new members to help. Some new partners include students from Ripon Grammar School who help with an IT session on Wednesdays as part of their community work and, every week, we welcome a volunteer from Jennyruth Workshops with a support worker. None of what we do would be possible without the enthusiasm and training from the staff team and we thank them for their never ending patience!”

Library volunteers enjoy the time they give. Daniel said: “I came here to do my work, got to know the regular staff, realised the library needed volunteers and I just had to help out! It’s a really friendly and warm place to work” and Patricia added: “I've always wanted to work in a library; it is a facility that everyone should have access to. It is really rewarding! Whatever you give, you get back!"

North Yorkshire Youth involves volunteers across a variety of projects, including at youth clubs and as buddies befriending young people aged 14 - 19 years. 

These volunteer roles can be so rewarding as volunteer buddy Allison explained: “I decided to look at volunteering after our children had left home but felt I still had something to give young people and also recognised that not all young people have the support ours did. It isn’t the big results that make it all worthwhile it’s seeing the trust and confidence between us grow, seeing the increase in self-esteem, seeing the new smile. From these small steps the big results happen.”

There are so many different ways you can volunteer locally, to suit your interests and availability. You can really do almost anything! Everybody has something to offer and volunteering can take as much or as little time as you can give.

The HARCVS Volunteering Directory lists hundreds of diverse and exciting opportunities to help you find your ideal volunteering role in Ripon and surrounding area. You can search by location and the causes and activities which interest you. What better time to take a look and get inspired than in Volunteers’ Week?