Did you know that there are an estimated 19.8 million people volunteering at least once a year in the UK, and that in 2015 volunteering output contributed an estimated £22.6bn to the UK economy? This National Volunteers’ Week, which is running from 1 – 8 June, we’re taking the opportunity to say a huge ‘hats off’ and thank you to our brilliant volunteers who help to make a difference to the lives of more than 2,000 people every year.

Volunteers are at the heart of the voluntary sector, and volunteers and the values that volunteering brings to YSS are hugely important to us. There are many reasons and benefits to becoming a volunteer with YSS. As well as providing a valuable service to our service users, volunteering can open doors to employment by helping people build skills and experience, give a sense of worth and be a way of meeting like-minded and motivated people. Some people volunteer because they want to ‘give something back’, others because they themselves have faced issues in the past that our service users are facing.

Our volunteers make a massive difference to people and communities all over West Mercia. From supporting parents and their children, to providing advice and support to adults in the criminal justice system, or supporting young people in custody, our work relies on the hard work and comittment of our volunteers.

Throughout Volunteers' Week we’ll be hosting a number of events to say a big thank you to our volunteers, as well as raising awareness of volunteering opportunities at YSS. Kicking off on Tuesday 22 May, we offered the opportunity for our volunteers to upskill and develop both professionally and personally at a training event held at Worcester Community Trust. The event included a talk by DC John Pattison on Suspect Interviewing Techniques, and was attended by volunteers working in Worcestershire, Shropshire, Hereford, Telford & Wrekin.

We’ll also be manning a stand at the annual Worcester Volunteers Fair taking place at Worcester Guild Hall on Friday 1 June from 11am to 3pm. YSS staff will be on hand to answer any queries you might have about becoming a volunteer, and you can also speak directly to volunteers at YSS about their experiences of working with the charity.

Finally, we’ll be rounding off our timetable of events with an informal evening walk around the River Severn onto Diglis lock, finishing with drinks and a catch up at the Diglis Hotel Worcester.

Lorraine Preece, Chief Executive at YSS, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating our volunteers throughout this year’s Volunteers’ Week, and hope as many of our brilliant volunteers as possible can join us.

“Currently YSS has around 120 volunteers involved in a range of different roles within the organisation, and also has an enthusiastic team of Volunteer Coordinators who are responsible for recruiting and supporting our volunteers across the region. 

“A lot of focus and coverage is given to the people the volunteers are supporting and the impact the work has on them, but often over looked is the impact that volunteering has on the volunteers themselves. This can give enormous ‘added social value’ to our services and again greatly benefit the wider community. This is achieved by recruiting and training local people from local communities: upskilling them, helping them to recognise and understand the issues and barriers that some people face in our communities and how we can help them to overcome those barriers, encouraging social cohesion, promoting diversity and equal opportunity and looking to make our communities safer, more vibrant and more cohesive.

“On behalf of YSS, for the contribution our volunteers make to our work and the positive difference they are making to the lives of so many of our service users and their families, thank you.”

To book a place or find out more information at any of these events, please contact YSS Volunter Coordinators, Carole Blake or Jon Cawdron: 07967 092 628 or 07717 766 152. Alternatively, send an email to [email protected]. To apply to join YSS as a volunteer, click here.