Volunteer’s week – Celebrating our helpers

This National Volunteers Week, we are celebrating the amazing people who give up their time for us..

This National Volunteers Week, we are celebrating all of the amazing individuals who give up their time to help us.

From the members who signed up at the very beginning of the programme, to those who are helping out during the current Covid-19 pandemic, we appreciate every single one of you.

Circumstances may be different at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped doing all the things we set out to do way back in 2015.

Highlighting issues like loneliness and isolation and helping people discover themselves in a whole new way could not be more important at the moment, and raising awareness of our programme is just as crucial now as it’s ever been.

That’s where our helpers come in.

Without them giving up their time, we’d not have recruited the 4,000 members we currently have.

They strive to make Middlesbrough a better place by forming new friendships with others aged 50 + and in turn, help them integrate with other groups at our activities.

These relationships may work a little differently now, but knowing that people still connect with each other – having introduced themselves at one of our events – it truly heart-warming.

Ageing Better Middlesbrough’s Programme Manager Michelle Dawson said: “We really appreciate what they do for the programme and our members. We have come a long way in 5 years and that’s testament to their efforts.

“This week is about celebrating the contributions they have made and highlighting how much they mean to us. So from myself and all of the team, we’d just like to say a big thank you.”

You won’t be surprised to hear that a lot of those who help us are very modest about their efforts. Many of them just like to give back, make new friends, or pass on their knowledge.

Geoff Kerr Morgan, who has been helping promote the programme for the very beginning said: “I love volunteering. I get so much out of it.

“I like chatting to people and having a laugh. Volunteering helps me bring people together in a meaningful way and I’ve made some lovely friends, so it’s a win-win situation for me.

For Ann Crysell, volunteering has become a way of life. She said: “By volunteering you can help yourself and others. It helps to stop depression creeping in and you feel a lot less alone too.

“It’s been my life because I’ve been volunteering in some capacity since I was young, so it’s been in my blood since then really.

Ann Crysell promoting our programme on BBC Look North

As well as the traditional ways of helping, Ageing Better Middlesbrough has a digital offer too, so there’s always been capacity for ‘tech wizards’ to share their skills with our members.

One such person is Ian Watson, who volunteers at the popular Tea and Technology sessions.

“I worked in computers and electronics throughout my career, so volunteering at the tech sessions was a really easy transition for me. He said.

“One of the most enjoyable experiences of my career was teaching people how to use technology in order to maximise what they can offer. Helping people is both stimulating and rewarding.”

Whatever you do this Volunteers Week, we hope that you stay safe and raise a glass for your efforts.

When everything goes back to normal, we’ll all celebrate properly!

 

If you’d like to volunteer with Ageing Better Middlesbrough, you can.

Despite the current situation we are always looking for ways to promote the programme, so if you would like to help, just email: chris.adamson@middlesbroughandstocktonmind.org.uk

 

 

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