Horton Housing CEO Paul Gartland discusses the impact volunteers have on the organisation, and what the volunteers and the people they support get out of it.
This week marks National Volunteers Week, and whilst our volunteer programmes have run slightly differently during the pandemic, there is no better time to celebrate the fantastic efforts made by our committed and dedicated team.
The tireless work of our volunteers helps us to keep delivering and improving the services we provide. Especially over the last 12 months, schemes like Befrienders and Companion Calls have proven to be a crucial way of connecting with the people we support, be that to keep them up to date with latest government advice and restrictions, or simply for a helpful chat and someone being there to listen.
It’s not just the people supported by Horton Housing that reap the benefits of our volunteers’ work. Volunteering provides skills and qualities that are very helpful in finding employment and developing people’s understanding of the work we do. Educational courses and in-depth training also play a key part in helping our volunteers progress.
Take Jack for instance. A former volunteer with our Media and Communications team, Jack is now a full-time member of staff after proving himself to be a valuable member of the team firstly on a voluntary basis. Ryan, one of our Befrienders at Horton Housing, has used his experiences of addiction to help a client through his journey and believes that volunteering has aided his recovery just as much as the individual he is helping to support.
During the pandemic, regular COVID-secure shifts have been manned by our hard-working volunteers. New roles such as Van Drivers and Donation Sorters are continuing to make a huge difference as we have seen a surge in the community offering generous donations of goods to our services.
Events such as the Great British Spring Clean are helping to tidy our streets around Bradford, doing bit by bit to make our areas a happier and cleaner place to be. Other initiatives like the Sew and Save Lives campaign have done exactly that, providing reusable face masks for members of the local community free of charge.
Esther Douglas, Volunteer Services Manager, commented: “Whilst the numbers of volunteers we have had understandably dropped during the pandemic, the fantastic work done by our teams didn’t. Particularly on the donations front, the number of items we have been given has been fantastic. Without our volunteers, collecting, sorting and distributing the donations to the people we support wouldn’t have been possible!”
I hope that events such as National Volunteers Week helps to raise awareness and recognition for the incredible work our volunteers do.
If you would like to find out more about our current volunteering opportunities, click here.