Lord Mayor backs volunteering ‘drive’ in Whitstable
With National Volunteer week fast approaching, The Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr Ian Thomas, paid a visit to Whitstable Volunteer Centre to give thanks to those who devote their free time to helping the local community.
On Wednesday 9th May The Lord Mayor dropped in to St. Mary’s Hall, Oxford Street Whitstable to offer his thanks to those at the heart of Whitstable Volunteer Centre who find placements for people wanting to volunteer, offer a gardening service and who also successfully run their extremely valuable driving service, which the Lord Mayor himself is a volunteer for.
Whitstable Volunteer Centre sees over 400 volunteers per year come through their doors looking for placements and opportunities to give something back to the local community in their free time. Last year, with their valuable volunteer car scheme they made in excess of 15,000 drives that people who are less able to get out into the community benefitted from. This included taking people to hospital appointments, helping them collect medication and even driving and accompanying them on shopping trips and visiting hairdressers. Some volunteer journeys have even gone as far as Norwich.
Speaking about the individuals who use the car scheme, Lord Mayor Ian Thomas spoke of how one of his clients used to manage a bakery in Tankerton that his Great Uncle used to own. ‘She ended up telling me more about my family than I knew! It’s a great way to meet plenty of interesting people’ when asked what advice he would give to people thinking about volunteering, he cheerfully quipped ‘Simply give it a try, come along and see if you like it’.
With a variety of different placements throughout Kent, there’s certainly no shortage of opportunities for those looking to be placed within a volunteer role. WVC have a variety of opportunities including conservation, office work, fundraising and befriending. Volunteer Co-ordinator Sophie Quirk, who works at the Centre, added ‘Sometimes people cannot find a suitable volunteer role which meets their requirements, in those instances, we help to create a personalised position for them.’
Back Row: Gillian Breitfeld, Lord Mayor Ian Thomas, Denise Taupin, Sue Tucker. Front Row: Viv Myers, Sophie Quirk
The volunteer centre which has been on Oxford Street since December 2007 after moving from its previous location in Tankerton has grown from strength to strength in the 36 years of its existence in Kent. It is able to offer the driving scheme 7 days a week with currently over 30 drivers on their books and well over 1,500 clients who make use of this service to help them get out and about in the community. Speaking of volunteering the Lord Mayor added ‘a huge thank you to the number of people who do all this work behind the scenes but are often not recognised.’
National Volunteers’ week is running from the 1st to 7th June this year. The week plays a huge part in raising the profile of the millions of volunteers who regularly contribute to society, while inspiring others to volunteer too.
For further information please contact Sophie Quirk at Whitstable Volunteer centre on 01227 772248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org