TORBAY’S VOLUNTEERING EFFORTS FIT FOR A KING

By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead

 

Lots to celebrate in the Bay this week after a weekend of parties, lunches and entertainment – nearly all facilitated by volunteers.

If ever there was proof that volunteering is two-way traffic then the Coronation celebrations was it. To put it simply, few of those events would have happened without the passion, commitment and dedication of volunteers.

One of the main events, which took place on Torre Abbey Meadows in Torquay on Sunday involved an estimated 200 volunteers, all giving their time willingly and just as importantly for free.

Sherry Anderson is often quoted by people trying to encapsulate the value of volunteering and she was spot on when she said: “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” 

Volunteers were represented everywhere across the Meadows, from those staffing the Children’s Week Crafts Tent to those marshalling crowds and entertaining by walking around in mascot costumes.

The Volunteering Marquee was also staffed almost exclusively by volunteers cannot have been lost on those who ventured in to hear about the many opportunities available across the Bay.

Torbay Community Development Trust’s very own Matt Dart, who has spent the last couple of years coordinating volunteering efforts at the vaccination centre and the volunteer’s marquee on Sunday, knows only too well the value of a willing volunteer.

“The vaccination centre wouldn’t have been able to operate without the dedicated team of volunteers that made sure it was not only efficient but friendly and welcoming,” he said.

“Volunteers are worth their weight in gold and to be honest, often work harder than an employed person, because they are so passionate about what they do.

“But it is not just about what they provide in terms of effort, it is also what they get out of it. Volunteers often talk about improvements to their mental health as well as their physical wellbeing.

“In my experience, put a team together and they quickly become a family providing a network of support for each other. It is phenomenal. They look out for each other,” he added.

When asked for good reasons to volunteer, Matt didn’t hesitate: “Personal wellbeing and that covers a lot from health to self-worth.”

Elsewhere over the weekend, volunteers provided the backbone to dozens of events across the Bay, whether Big Lunches held in the street and community centres for friends and neighbours or big screenings of the Coronation service and Coronation concert.

It was the same in every town and village in Torbay, volunteers were out in force and because they are so passionate, many of them probably didn’t stop to think how much they were giving back to their communities.

Next month we will be launching a new website called VolunteerTorbay.com and it is with good reason that we have picked the strapline ‘A World of Opportunities’

We aim to celebrate volunteering and put it on the pedestal it and the individuals involved so deserve. We should be proud to volunteer and seek to thank those who do.

We want employers to display a logo that says quite simply ‘Proud to Support VolunteerTorbay’ and for volunteers to add a logo to their own emails that says ‘Proud to Be a VolunteerTorbay.’

The volunteering revolution has long been at the core of what it means to live in this country; indeed here are TCDT we can trace our routes back to a volunteering organisation set up in the 19th century.

Volunteering rose to new heights during Covid when 1,700 people stepped up to help their friends, neighbours and even strangers, but it shouldn’t take a crisis to find your passion and show that you care.

We know that the events of last weekend could not have happened without the commitment of volunteers and we also know that many organisations and charities would either not exist or not be nearly as successful without them.

 It doesn’t have to be onerous; on the contrary, most volunteers do what they do because they have a passion for it and enjoy doing what they do. Volunteering can be very rewarding and is a great way to: ·      

-Meet new people     

-Gain new or use existing skills get experience

-Make a big difference in your community

 What’s your passion?

Author