Volunteers’ Week takes place in June every year. It’s a chance to recognise the fantastic contribution volunteers make to our communities and say thank you.
Volunteering is important; in 2019/20, there were around 163,000 voluntary organisations in the UK, most of which rely on volunteers (National Council for Voluntary Organisations).
Volunteers have been the backbone of Open Country since we began in 1990, bringing a range of skills, experience and enthusiasm to the charity. Philomena says: “It’s lovely to be around a great bunch of people in the great outdoors. Volunteering gives me the skills and confidence to try things at home, for example growing my own vegetables.” Derek says: “I was first introduced to Open Country over 10 years ago and I have never looked back! It’s a great organisation and a really friendly group who I enjoy spending time with. Volunteering at the allotment has given me lots of construction experience; building the raised beds, cold frame and arbour, and I enjoy passing these skills onto the members.”
Although the past year hasn’t been a typical one for volunteers at Open Country and they haven’t all been able to carry on their usual roles, many have been supporting members on Zooms, keeping in touch with members through phone calls and visits, fundraising and donating and providing ‘behind the scenes’ support for example with admin and bicycle maintenance.
We know that many Open Country volunteers have also been helping in the community in the last year; in fact, ten million adults in the UK have been volunteering during the pandemic, and most say they will carry on, according to research by Legal & General and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (2020). With each individual contributing, on average, about three hours of their time, the work these volunteers are doing is estimated to have an equivalent economic value of more than £350m a week.
Volunteers’ commitment and contribution really do make a difference to Open Country, so we offer our heartfelt thanks – keep up the good work and Happy Volunteers’ Week to you all!
For more information about Volunteers’ Week see: https://volunteersweek.org/