Events held in 2016
Volunteer Christmas lunch
We held our annual Christmas thank-you lunch on Friday 2 December in the Council Chamber of Thornbury Town Hall.
Fifty volunteers and representatives from volunteer-involving organisations attended and were treated to a delicious buffet lunch supplied by volunteers of Thornbury Volunteer Centre.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Bob Griffin attended and thanked those present for their commitment in ensuring that Thornbury remains a healthy and vibrant community. He then presented the Alan Hudson Award to this year’s winner, JIGSAW, and drew the winners of our raffle.
Thanks go to Costa Thornbury for the donation of a lovely raffle prize.
We started our summer events with a pop-up shop at 1a St Mary Street, Thornbury, held to coincide with National Volunteer’s Week 1–12 June. The aim of the shop was to raise the profile of the Volunteer Centre and volunteering locally whilst also raising funds for the Centre.
The shop sold a wide variety of quality donated goods, which included a full-size football table and furniture. It featured a small 1940’s themed Tea Shop serving tea and cakes.
The week was a tremendous success on all fronts. We helped 12 potential new volunteers, several of whom have already begun volunteering. We also gained two new voluntary organisations. And the shop raised much needed funds.
After the shop finally closed, we distributed the remaining items to the other local charity shops in the town.
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 also thank the team at the St Mary Centre for their help and support with the shop.
We hosted our annual Volunteer Fair on 7 July. In a break from tradition the Fair was held in the pop-up shop, which meant that we weren’t subject to the vagaries of the British weather. Fifteen local community and voluntary organisations attended to raise awareness of their organisations, to fundraise and to promote their volunteering opportunities.
It was an enjoyable event which has again helped to raise awareness of volunteering locally, recruited volunteers and provided much needed funds for the organisations involved.
Annual General Meeting
Our 2016 annual general meeting took place in our pop-up shop in the St Mary Centre on 14 June. After the official business was completed, Professor Jane Gilliard, a Dementia Friends Champion, presented an excellent, informative and thought-provoking session on how we can encourage others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in our communities.
Fun and profit at the Swan
Sandra Davies of the Swan Inn, Thornbury, runs a wonderful scheme by which every month a local charity benefits from the entry fees and raffle profit collected on the regular Wednesday quiz nights. We were lucky enough to be chosen as the charity to benefit during May.
We entered several teams ourselves, with mixed success. But the proceeds more than balanced any sadness at our relative lack of question-answering prowess: £520.98, a substantial and much-needed boost to our funds. Many thanks to Sandra for her continuing and greatly appreciated support for Thornbury charities.
Successful Students shine brightly
Students from Castle School Sixth Form celebrated their remarkable volunteering achievements on 20 April with an award ceremony in the Sixth Form Hall. Around 50 sixth formers who took part in Castle School’s volunteering programme Castle in the Community, or acted as peer mentors for their classmates, were rewarded for their contribution.
Certificates were presented by Cllr Guy Rawlinson, Thornbury Town Mayor, who thanked the students for their valuable contributions. Mr Peter Smart, Head of Castle School, said that the students had made a difference to the lives of other people and the school was proud of their achievements. Kevin Simpson of Thornbury Lions Club — which sponsored this year’s ceremony — then said a few words about the work and ethos of the Lions.
The students had been placed in nine local voluntary and community groups in the Thornbury area; their placements included gardening, marketing, charity shop work, befriending older people, supporting children with special educational needs and fundraising.
Mental Health Workshop
On 23 March we held a bite-sized course, Promoting Positive Mental Health, run by experienced mental-health and social-care trainer Suzanne Pearson.
Her ninety-minute introduction to mental health awareness covered ways to build resilience and wellbeing into our personal lives and in our work roles. She also discussed local mental-health wellbeing services and how to access them.
The workshop was attended by members of the public, volunteers and professionals who found it interesting and worthwhile.
We held our annual business lunch on 30 March. This was aimed at helping businesses find ways to engage with their local community through volunteering.
Guest speakers representing the Office for Civil Society Local (SW), CVS South Gloucestershire, Involve Swindon, Europa Group Ltd and Essilor Ltd spoke about the Local Skills Exchange Project, the first South Glos Challenge, explained how a network of companies, statutory bodies and voluntary organisations are working together to encourage employees to give their time and develop their skills through volunteering in the local community, and how two local employers are helping the Thornbury community.
Representatives from businesses, including the John Lewis Partnership, TSB Bank, Four Pillars and WPA Healthcare, enjoyed a thought-provoking, interesting and informative lunch and many are keen to continue discussing the topics at future forums. “It was the best event of its type that I have ever attended” was a comment which we welcomed. If you were unable to attend the lunch but would like to find out more please contact us.
News & information
Plans for 2018: Next year is our 30th anniversary. We plan events to bring organisations and volunteers closer together. Details here.
Volunteer Manager’s Network: The next meeting is announced. More.
Personal Resilience and Stress Management Training: Tools to help you feel less stressed. 31 January 2018. More information.
Experiences: Michele tells how a local company restored her confidence and helped her back into work.
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