Town Council's Celebration of Volunteering event gets overwhelming support from Ashby and Blackfordby groups

By Graham Hill

8th Jun 2024 | Local News

The 100-plus volunteers from the Ashby and Blackfordby area attended the event at Ivanhoe School. Photos: Ashby Nub News
The 100-plus volunteers from the Ashby and Blackfordby area attended the event at Ivanhoe School. Photos: Ashby Nub News

Ashby de la Zouch Town Council staged a 'Celebration of Volunteering' for local groups this week - and received overwhelming support.

More than 100 volunteers, working in a wide variety of charities, attended the event at the Ivanhoe School in North Street.

The event was an opportunity for the Town Council to thank those who volunteer in their local community and to recognise and celebrate the incredible contribution they make to society.

Town Council leader, Cllr Chris Smith, and Ashby Mayor, Cllr Liz Parle, spoke at the gathering.

Cllr Smith said: "I wanted to have this event because I believe it's really important that the Town Council recognises and celebrates the incredible contribution volunteers make to our community. 

"But also because I personally believe volunteering is so important in many ways.

"Ever since I started volunteering at a local Citizens Advice, 14 years ago, advising on anything from debt, housing, relationships to benefits, I have recognised the importance of volunteering. 

Leader of Ashby de la Zouch Town Council, Cllr Chris Smith, spoke at the event.

"I found it very rewarding, not only for the help I could give, but also the challenge it gave me. I have made some really good friends through volunteering.

"I became passionate about volunteering and became their Volunteer Champion, helping to recruit and train new volunteers and promoting volunteering. I'm still involved as a volunteer, now as a trustee of Citizens Advice."

Cllr Smith added that there are many reasons people volunteer.

He said: "Many local organisations would not survive without volunteers. The museum, Venture Theatre

"It could be you want to improve your local environment: litter picking; tidying a verge that's been overlooked. A bit of guerilla gardening! Things like that can make a really big difference.

"Also, it may be the case that you want to play some part in strengthening our community, perhaps by helping others who are struggling.

"Volunteering can also be a good way of beginning to combat social isolation, to make friends. At Citizens Advice, often people would volunteer who had been out of the workplace for whatever reason, perhaps health or child care reasons, and wanted to gain confidence and experience. 

"Often these people moved on to paid work, which at Citizens Advice we considered a huge success.

Ashby Mayor, Cllr Liz Parle, also spoke with volunteer groups at Ivanhoe School

"One survey of volunteers suggested that 47 per cent of volunteers' health had improved from volunteering. In the same survey, 15 per cent said they eat less chocolate. I wonder if that is true of the people here?

"People came here for all sorts of reasons. Whatever the reasons, and however much you do, the Town Councillors, and I'm sure the town as a whole, want to make sure you all know how much we appreciate the fantastic contribution you all make. Ashby and Blackfordby would be a much poorer place without all your efforts."

Cllr Parle added: "Volunteers don't do it for celebrity or prizes - but because we think it's the right thing to do if we have a bit of spare time and some expertise to share.

"I saw many of you at the Volunteer Village at last weekend's Emergency Services Day trying to get more people to volunteer.

"My challenge to you is to take this opportunity to go and speak to someone you don't know and find out what they do and who they volunteer with."


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