Valuing Volunteers Day 20th February 2012
On Monday 20th February, Willow Burn hospice staff will be taking time out to value volunteers in a one day event that will give volunteers an opportunity to learn more about the services they support including a Lebed Method taster session.
Willow Burn hospice relies heavily on volunteer support to raise funds towards and support service delivery. There are currently 170 volunteers who gift their time to the vital work carried out by the charity, from shop and tea bar assistants to IT specialists and complementary therapists. The valuing volunteers event is a much needed opportunity to thank volunteers for their ongoing support and update them on the services delivered by Willow Burn hospice.
“Last year’s event proved very successful, with the opportunity for our volunteers to meet and informally put questions to our senior management team,” explained Laura Elliot, Volunteer services manager for Willow Burn hospice.
“After the positive feedback from last year’s event it was agreed to hold another session this year but with a focus on services. The volunteers are a critical part of the services whether they physically help out in day hospice or if they raise funds at events. We think valuing volunteers day is an opportunity for us to show the volunteers what their hard work is going towards and what better way than to offer them a taste of the activities we provide for our patients.’’
One of the volunteers who is taking part in the day, is Consett resident Clare Quinn,a long term supporter and volunteer for Willow Burn hospice. “I am very much looking forward to the day as a chance to get together with all of the other volunteers, as well as hearing about all of the exciting plans for the Hospice.’’
Supporting Willow Burn hospice by volunteering your time is a wonderful and rewarding way to offer support to a good cause in a challenging financial climate. Laura added, “We have found our volunteering numbers continue to rise as the job market and education opportunities are reduced. There are all kinds of wonderful opportunities at Willow Burn hospice for people who have time to gift every week or for those who have limited time due to other commitments.”
This event, along with the volunteer service, is funded by BIG, the national lottery programme as part of a 3 year grant awarded to the hospice in 2009.
Since 2009, Willow Burn hospice volunteer services has been supported by BIG’s reaching communities programme, the funding bid was focused around offering training and development to all volunteers which would benefit them in their role as a volunteer or towards achieving their own personal goals. In that time, volunteering numbers have almost doubled and volunteers have benefited from training courses from colour therapy to sage 50 accounting to specialised database maintenance and management.
As the funding for this programme comes to an end in February, Willow Burn Hospice were encouraged to apply for a one off supporting change grant of up to £10,000. Following the success of the existing project funders have agreed to give a further injection of cash to the project.
“This grant is great news for Willow Burn hospice and for the community of Derwentside and County Durham. In line with BIG criteria we will be using the funds to evaluate our volunteer service, to see how well we meet the needs of our existing volunteers but we will also be going out to the local people and asking them about what they expect from a voluntary organisation, particularly in this difficult financial time’’ explained Laura Elliot, Volunteer services Manager for Willow Burn hospice.
As part of the project, Willow Burn have enlisted support from consultant Rob Jackson who, with many years of experience working in the voluntary sector, is passionate about the potential of people and committed to thinking differently about volunteering.
The evaluation project is expected to take approximately 5 months and not only will it provide training opportunities for volunteers and staff at Willow Burn hospice but it will put the volunteer service in a better position to attract further funding in the future.
For further details on volunteering, please go to Willow Burn’s website: www.willow-burn.co.uk/volunteeror contact Laura Elliot at Willow Burn on 07702 846683