Volunteers’ Week 30th anniversary
By Victoria Rees, Senior Customer Services Coordinator
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our volunteers for their effort, commitment and enthusiasm in volunteering with Deaf Direct. Their hard work is much appreciated and last year volunteers gave over 1600 hours of their own time to support the work, services and clients of Deaf Direct.
This year looks to be even more impressive. Volunteers have befriended the elderly and the vulnerable; raised awareness of deaf issues; supported the work and publicised the services of Deaf Direct; and some even gave up valuable Saturdays near Christmas to rehearse and perform signed carols at the Worcester Victorian Fayre and ASDA. Their constant energies and dedication are a lesson to us all. Please keep up the good work, thanks.
April 2013 to March 2014 saw volunteers give an incredible 1604.75 hours to Deaf Direct Volunteer Services:
As well as this great group effort there have also been some very impressive individuals with two volunteers racking up over 100 hours for the year and one wonderful volunteer giving 221 hours of her time volunteering in Oxford.
2014 – 2015 is already shaping up to be even better with over 212.25 volunteer hours given in April and May this year compared to 165.75 hours for this time last year.
On Friday 30th May, Deaf Direct staff and volunteers joined over 30 other organisations to celebrate Volunteers’ Week at the Volunteering Fair. The Fair took place at the Guildhall in Worcester, organised by the Worcester Volunteer Centre. This was a great opportunity to raise awareness for Deaf Direct and its hard working Volunteer Service, as well as a chance to meet other Worcestershire based charities and organisations. It was lovely to see such a variety of stalls there including West Mercia Police, Worcester Wheels and Cruse Bereavement Care.
The Deaf Direct stall was manned for the whole event by 2 staff members and 4 volunteers sharing the running of the stall. This involved handing out application packs, encouraging people to join the Volunteer Service themselves. We also informed people about Deaf Direct services with flyers on tinnitus and the BSL taster sessions in July being the most popular queries of the day.
My volunteer day 2013, by Diane Gledhill, PA / Communicator to CEO
On 27th August 2013, I volunteered at a playscheme for hearing children aged 6 to 16, at a youth club in Birmingham. I had attended this youth club myself from the age of 6 and became a voluntary helper in my late teens. Various members of my family, young and old, had attended the club over the years so it has a special place in my heart.
As a staff member at Deaf Direct, one paid day off per year, if approved by your line manager, can be taken to carry out voluntary work. I used the opportunity last year to lead a 30 minute session on basic sign language with the youngsters at the playscheme. They learnt fingerspelling, colours and some simple signs such as hello, goodbye, please and thank you. Everyone seemed to enjoy the session, and during our visit to the Black Country Museum later that afternoon, they were still practicing their new-found signing skills and asking me signs as we walked around!
I really enjoy volunteering. It is not always possible for me with a hectic lifestyle, but when I do get the time, it is so rewarding and most of all I love seeing smiles on faces after a great day.
I was really touched to receive a letter after the playscheme, thanking me for donating my time and stressing how they could not provide their services without the generosity of their volunteers.
Staff members at Deaf Direct interested in booking a volunteer day this year, please speak to your line manager. For anyone else reading my article, I would urge you to contact Victoria Rees and find out how you could give your time to make a difference to the lives of others in your area.