EASTBOURNE VOLUNTEERS WITH HELEN BURTON: Celebrate National Volunteers Week

Volunteers at the new Community Hub at the Labyrinth in Mark Lane, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170130-101954008
Volunteers at the new Community Hub at the Labyrinth in Mark Lane, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170130-101954008

Did you know that June 1 to 7 is Volunteers Week? This week community groups everywhere are celebrating their volunteers, without whom most community organisations would not exist - including ours! As part of the Volunteers Week celebrations local charity Possability People is launching a new campaign to encourage more disabled people to volunteer, something Eastbourne Volunteers would also like to encourage.

Together with Eastbourne Access Group, Eastbourne Disability Involvement Group, Sussex Wildlife Trust and Sussex Neighbourhood Watch, Possability People are letting groups know just how easy it is to make volunteering opportunities more accessible.

A new set of four posters is being unveiled by each of the charities during the week which we will be profiling on our Facebook page. Geraldine Des Moulins, Possability People’s chief officer says, “Eastbourne is lucky to have such a wealth of volunteers who provide hours and hours of support every day of the week. But we know there are lots of local disabled people, and people with long term health conditions, who would also really like to do some voluntary work. You Can Volunteer is about supporting local groups so they understand and feel confident that their volunteer opportunities can be filled by disabled people, who in our experience, bring an enormous amount of skill and experience with them”.

Possability People offers some top tips for making volunteering more accessible if you run an organisations that engages with volunteers:

• Think about what your prospective volunteer can bring to you, instead of thinking about their disability.

• Promote your volunteer opportunities directly to disabled people.

• The volunteer might not need very much support, but they will be very happy to talk to you about what they do need, so just ask them.

• Talk to Possability People about how they can help, with things like disability awareness training and talk to you about how easy it can be.

If you would like to know more about how Possability People can support you and your volunteers, email katharine@possabilitypeople.org.uk

This special week I want to remind you of our community organisation networking event on Friday June 9 at the Tesco community space within their store on Lottbridge Drove. Its 7-9pm with talks beneficial to community groups at 7.30pm and lots of time to meet and chat with people from other groups. If anyone would like to offer raffle prizes to help raise funds to support volunteering locally please email me at eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com

Finally, I also want to say a big thank you to the volunteers that keep our project going, the people who have engaged with our project since it launched in January and to all the volunteers out there yet to come forward. We are waiting for you!