Events of 2015
Volunteer Christmas lunch
Our Christmas volunteers’ thank-you lunch for 2015 was held on Wednesday 2 December, as always in the Council Chamber of Thornbury Town Hall.
A full house of representatives of local voluntary and community organisations were treated to an excellent buffet provided by our volunteers. The lunch was attended by Mayor Guy Rawlinson, who presented the Alan Hudson award to this year’s winner, Pam Forrest from Cancer Research UK. He also drew the winners of our raffle.
Annual General Meeting
On 7 July we held our 2015 AGM in the vintage tea shop section of our pop-up shop at 23 St Mary Street. Volunteers were joined by guest speaker Allan Taylor, Chair of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Leyhill. After the official business was completed Allan gave a very interesting and informative talk on the work of the IMB and his role as Chair of the volunteering team. Our thanks to Allan for answering our numerous questions.
Volunteer Fair 2015
On 2 July we hosted our annual volunteer fair in Thornbury Shopping Centre, with 17 local community and voluntary organisations attending. The aim was to raise awareness of their organisations, promote their volunteering opportunities and fundraise. Thornbury town mayor Cllr Guy Rawlinson attended with his consort, Andrea Bates, and the children’s choir The Octaves entertained throughout the morning.
It was a very enjoyable event which has helped to raise awareness of volunteering locally and provide much needed funds for the organisations involved. Our thanks to the St Mary Centre for sponsoring this event once again.
Pop-up Shop success
We kick-started our summer with a pop-up shop at 23 St Mary Centre Thornbury, held to coincide with National Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June. The aim of the shop was to raise our profile and volunteering locally whilst also raising funds for us.
The shop sold donated goods, begged and borrowed from friends and neighbours; as the premises had kitchen facilities we also decided to run a small vintage tea shop serving tea and cakes. We invited local craftspeople to take a table within the shop so that they could sell and promote their businesses in a shopping centre setting.
The week was a tremendous success on all fronts. The shop raised much-needed funds and the stallholders all did well. We spoke to, and gave information to, more than 25 potential new volunteers. Many of whom have since visited the office and some have already started volunteering. We then opened for the following three Saturday mornings before finally closing our doors and distributing the remaining items to local charities.
Our thanks go to everyone who donated their time and goods to the shop and to all of the people who visited the shop, bought goods, entered the raffle or offered to donate their time. We must also thank the team at the St Mary Centre for their help and support with the shop.
Students reap benefits of volunteering
Remarkable students from Castle School Sixth Form who have spent the last eight months working to better their community and improve the lives of local residents have been recognised for their volunteering achievements with an award ceremony in the Sixth Form Hall. Around 50 sixth formers who took part in the school’s volunteering programme Castle in the Community, or who acted as peer mentors for their fellow classmates, were rewarded for their contribution at the ceremony on Wednesday 6 May.
Members of the charities and organisations they worked for cheered as they were presented with certificates by Mayor Cllr Guy Rawlinson for their outstanding contribution to their town. Sarah Ockenden, Deputy Head of the Sixth Form, said that the school was immensely proud of their achievements and that they had all made a difference to the lives of other people. Kevin Simpson of Thornbury Lions Club then said a few words about the work and ethos of the Lions as they had, once again, very kindly sponsored this Ceremony.
Students have been placed in 11 local organisations and their roles have included befriending, gardening, fundraising, charity shop work and teaching assistants.
Kim Webb, our Development Co-ordinator, explained “The benefits to students and organisations are immense. The students gain valuable work experience and life skills and the organisations increase capacity and gain additional volunteer help”.
Castle in the Community has just completed its fourth year in partnership with us and preparations for next year’s scheme will get underway soon. To get involved please contact Kim Webb.
Coffee morning at Easter Compton
To launch our monthly outreach service at Easter Compton we held a coffee morning in the Village Hall on Wednesday 14 January which resulted in three potential new volunteers registering with us.
We visit the Village Hall on the second Wednesday of each month between 10am-12 noon. Please do call in and see us if you want to find out more about volunteering or wish to recruit volunteers to your organisation. No appointment necessary.
Business and Voluntary Organisations lunch
On 17 March we hosted our second Business and Voluntary Organisations lunch at Cossham Hall, Thornbury. The aim was to allow the business and voluntary & community sectors to meet in an informal way to discover how they could share expertise and knowledge. Forty representatives from the two sectors came together to enjoy a buffet lunch whilst networking and making links with other organisations.
The guest speakers were Pete Dodd, Quality Assurance Manager for Essilor Ltd, Alyson Hanley, the HR Manager and Nigel Knight, the Business Manager of Europa Group Ltd, and Nicole Beebee, Community Fundraising Co-ordinator of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. Essilor Ltd and Europa Group Ltd are both actively involved in encouraging their employees to undertake voluntary work in their local community. All spoke passionately about the need for all sectors to work together to strengthen communities and increase community capacity.
Kim Webb, Development Co-ordinator for Thornbury Volunteer Centre said “After the positive feedback we received from last year’s lunch we were keen to provide another event at which the two sectors could once again come together in a positive way. There is obviously willingness between the two sectors to work together and it appeared that many new links were being forged and support offered. We would like to thank Essilor Ltd for their support in the sponsorship of this event.”
News & information
Volunteer managers’ meeting: Meetings allow volunteer managers to meet and share good practice and experiences. The opening meeting is on 7 November. More information.
Experiences: Michele tells how a local company restored her confidence and helped her back into work.
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