Our Wakefield team have been celebrating Volunteers Week (1-7 June) by reflecting on the successes of the 18 months since launching the project in Wakefield and the many volunteers they have welcomed along the way. For some, volunteering with us has become a family affair with two local families pledging their support to the different activities on offer to enable people with a disability to access the countryside.
Julie Turner from Lofthouse volunteers with the Thursday Walking Group which enjoys walks of up to five miles around the Wakefield countryside. She also volunteers with the Weekend Outings Group which enables people with a physical or sensory impairment, including wheelchair users, to access various outdoor sites and attractions. Julie’s husband Dave and their daughter Becky also volunteer with our adapted cycling activities aimed at people who need a bit of help with riding a bike.
Julie says: “We all get a huge amount from volunteering with Open Country. Not only is it a great way to feel like you’re making a difference and helping people with a disability to enjoy the great outdoors, it’s also a great way of keeping fit, both body and mind, and seeing parts of our beautiful countryside you wouldn’t normally visit. You can always guarantee a warm welcome on one of their activities, as well as bad singing and terrible jokes! I am so glad all my family are now having the same experiences I am with them.”
Kayleigh Kirkham from Horbury who volunteers her time on a Friday to help in our Wakefield office says: “It was my dad Neil that got me into volunteering with Open Country. He pilots a tandem for their Wednesday evening Tandem Club and persuaded me to join them too. Between the two of us, it’s lovely to think we’re making a difference to this small charity and I really feel part of the Open Country family.’’
We have all been celebrating Volunteers Week with a Volunteer Social on Tuesday 4 June at the King’s Arms on Heath Common. Despite a deluge of rain that evening, we all had a great time catching up and doing the pub quiz.
Seeing families volunteer together to support a cause they care about, giving their time to help others and having a ball whilst doing it is absolutely fantastic. Everyone’s motivation for volunteering differs but how lovely is it that these families can enjoy the experience of ‘giving back’ as a team.