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News and forthcoming events

Christmas Award Ceremony

We hosted our annual Christmas thank you lunch on Friday 7 December for volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations in the Thornbury and district community. We welcomed special guests Tom Frost, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, and Cllr Shirley Holloway, Thornbury Town Mayor, together with 60 guests representing 26 organisations.

As we’re celebrating our 30th anniversary this year, we decided to combine this with an award ceremony to recognise the contribution that volunteers make to our community. The 30th Anniversary Awards for Volunteering Excellence went to:

Thornbury in Bloom, whose volunteers have for almost 30 years brightened up the town with creative floral displays. Their aim is to enhance Thornbury for residents, businesses and visitors to enjoy whilst promoting wildlife conservation, recycling and biodiversity. The town has won a gold medal at South West in Bloom every year since 2000.

Thornbury Christmas Lights Association for the hard work and dedication of their volunteers in ensuring that the lights are purchased, erected, serviced, maintained, taken down, stored, lovingly cared for and renewed as required.

Presenting the award to the Christmas Lights Association.
Tom Frost, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, presents the award to Brian Roberts of the Thornbury Christmas Lights Association.

Thornbury Magazine is a not-for-profit community enterprise staffed by volunteers who edit and collate all the information submitted as well as organising advertisements for local companies. The magazine is a mine of information that is delivered to every one of the more than 6,000 homes in the parish of Thornbury each month.

Essilor Ltd, the UK’s leading manufacturer of optical lenses, has been in the heart of Thornbury since 1975. Essilor has a strong volunteering focus — a team help at Filnore Woods regularly, volunteer opportunities have been posted on staff notice boards and the company has supported people with low-level mental health issues through volunteering placements within the company.

The Swan Inn is a community public house based on Thornbury High Street. For the past seven years under the guiding light of publican Sandra Davies the team have raised over £100,000 for various local charities through their in-house fund-raising events including their weekly charity quiz night.

We also presented our annual Alan Hudson Award for Volunteering Achievement.

Tesco Bags of Help.

Special thanks go to Tesco Bags of Help, which supported part of this event.

Quiz nights raise funds

The Swan Inn.


During November we were the lucky recipients of the funds raised through the Swan Inn’s charity fundraising quiz nights. These enjoyable evenings are well attended, the questions are challenging and interesting and quizmaster “Coops” is a one-off who makes sure everyone has a great time.

Sandra Davies and her team raised a massive £440 for us this month through the quiz and other donations and we are, as always, extremely grateful to her for helping us to continue our work in the community.

Round Table donation

The logo of the Round Table.

Thanks to Sandra Davies at the Swan we also received a donation of £500 from Thornbury Round Table. This will allow us to organise training events next year aimed at promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. Our thanks go to all members of Thornbury Round Table for this generous donation.

Help raise funds through AmazonSmile

The AmazonSmile scheme supports charitable organisations by donating a proportion of the value of sales. Everyone who buys from Amazon and wants to support us can join the scheme by choosing us.

All you have to do is visit the signup page. You will be asked to log in to the Amazon site if you aren’t already. Then all you have to do is click on the button labelled Start Shopping.

The AmazonSmile logo.

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Every time you visit Amazon after signing up, use smile.amazon.co.uk instead of the old address (don’t forget to bookmark it in your browser). You will know you’re in the scheme because a little notice appears under the search bar near the top of the screen.

Volunteer Managers’ Network Meetings

These meetings are open to all volunteer managers working in South Gloucestershire. They are friendly and informal gatherings where managers can share ideas and expertise and discuss any issues or concerns.

Next meeting

The next meeting will be held at 10am on Wednesday 6 March 2019 at the Carers Centre, Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds BS16 2QQ. This meeting will be focusing on Volunteer Week planning and how the hours worked by volunteer managers compare with the number of volunteers managed.

Future meetings

  • Thursday 13 June 2019 at 10am, at Brunelcare, Saffron Gardens, Prospect Place, Whitehall, Bristol. BS5 9FF.
  • Wednesday 11 September 2019 at Bristol Home-Start, The Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Southmead. BS10 5PY.
  • Thursday 14 November 2019 at Jigsaw, The Bakery Annexe, 4-7 Chapel Street, Thornbury. BS35 2AW.

Please contact Kim Webb here at the Thornbury Volunteer Centre if you wish to attend.

AGM and networking event

On Wednesday 18 July we hosted our AGM at Christ the King RC Church, Thornbury. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and our volunteers and guests were able to take advantage of the lovely gardens. We were joined by guest speaker Jerry Dicker who gave a interesting, interactive and entertaining talk about his volunteering at Filnore Woods. Jerry brought along a large sapling and fascinated his audience by demonstrating on it some of the tools they use to maintain the Woods.

Jerry Dicker in action.
Jerry Dicker strips a sapling with gusto and a billhook.

Once the official AGM business was over we hosted a summer networking afternoon tea for the volunteers of Thornbury & District to say thank-you for their hard work and commitment over the previous year. The event also gave them the opportunity to meet and network with other volunteers and share experiences. Guests enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea of scones, strawberries & cream and cakes; music was performed by the Wriggle Jigglers, a folk band made up of local young people.

The Wriggle Jigglers.
The Wriggle Jigglers.

This event was one of a series to celebrate Thornbury Volunteer Centre’s 30th anniversary year.

Tesco Bags of Help.

This event was supported by a grant from Tesco Bags of Help.

Our pop-up shop has just popped down again after a very successful eight-week tenure of 11 St Mary Way.

The 2018 popup shop interior.
The shop was a hit right from the opening.

The shop sold an extensive range of second-hand items ranging from clothing to bedding, toys to books, bric-a-brac and even a cross-trainer! All items were donated by family and friends and, once the shop was open, from members of the public. It was lovely to welcome customers from previous years and to hear the favourable comments on what was essentially a “jumble sale in a shop”. The shop raised a very good amount for us and will enable us to continue our work for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, and probably even more importantly, the shop allowed us to bring volunteering into the centre and raised the profile of the Centre enormously. So far, as a direct response to the shop, 29 new volunteers have registered with us as looking for voluntary work, four organisations new to the Volunteer Centre registered five new voluntary opportunities and four people have booked on the Personal Resilience and Stress Management course which was advertised in the shop window.

We would like to thank everyone, from volunteers who helped set up, take down and serve in the shop, those who donated items for sale, to all of our customers — we hope you enjoyed us being there as much as we did — and finally to the wonderful St Mary Centre team for their help and support.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Data protection changes

GDPR logo.

We have updated our privacy policy to meet the requirements of the new data-protection regulation (GDPR) and to explain how we collect, store and process personal data in line with the regulation. We have also checked and updated our internal processes and policies. The various forms on this site now require your explicit consent to our processing your personal data.

£2000 from Tesco’s community grant scheme funds local projects

We’re delighted to announce that we have been awarded £2000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help community grant scheme.

Tesco Bags of Help logo.

Bags of Help is run in partnership with the environmental charity Groundwork. Grants raised from the sale of carrier bags are awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. Since launching in 2015, the scheme has provided over £43 million to more than 10,000 local community projects.

To recognise our 30th anniversary this year we will be hosting four events aimed at encouraging new people to volunteer, whilst acknowledging the valuable contribution made to the local community by our existing volunteers.

We shall organise and host:

  • A “Building confidence” workshop to support potential new volunteers.
  • A series of taster sessions at local voluntary and community organisations, designed to give potential volunteers a flavour of the type of volunteering opportunities available in their local area.
  • A networking event for volunteer-involving organisations and volunteers.
  • An Award ceremony and networking event at the end of the year aimed at showcasing the work of our community’s unsung heroes.

Kim Webb, our development co-ordinator, is naturally delighted with the result. “This is such good news for us and the community. As a very small local charity dedicated to promoting the benefits of volunteering to a wider audience we are always looking for ways to raise awareness in the local community and this grant will help us enormously.”

Kim Webb with James Fawbert.
Kim Webb with James Fawbert, the Manager of the Tesco Thornbury store.

Alec Brown, Tesco’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers. It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community. We can’t wait to see the projects come to life.”

About our newest trustee

Allan Taylor.

Allan Taylor joined the Management Committee of Thornbury Volunteer Centre in April this year. He has a wealth of volunteering experience which will be a great asset to the Centre.

Allan loves his cricket and besides playing for the club for some thirty years, has served as Chair, Captain, Treasurer and Secretary of Thornbury Cricket Club before continuing his involvement in the game as a member of the West of England Premier League Cricket Board and Chair of their Disciplinary and Standards Committee.

He was a member of the Independent Monitoring Board at HMP Leyhill for twelve years and Chair for the last three. He is also an active member and a past President of Thornbury Rotary Club and serves his local community as a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator.

Allan likes a challenge and he will be an excellent addition to our team.

Personal Resilience and Stress Management Workshop

On Wednesday 31 January 2018 we hosted a workshop on Personal Resilience and Stress Management. It was delivered by trainer Claire Greenwood of Broadleaf Training & Development.

Attendees at the workshop.
Claire Greenwood talking to the workshop participants.

The session looked at what personal resilience means, identified factors which support or weaken resilience and then demonstrated some techniques to help manage stress and support resilience.

The session was a good mix of discussion, dialogue and activities, looking at why some people appear more resilient than others, what causes stress, cognitive behavioural therapy, using the resilience prescription and ending with a session on mindfulness.

The session was well attended and everyone left feeling better able to cope with everyday challenges.

Magnox group logos.
This training was supported by a grant from the Magnox Socio-economic Scheme

General Data Protection Regulation

Thornbury Town Mayor Helen Harrison and Thornbury Volunteer Centre hosted two workshops in February to tell local voluntary and community groups about the changes in the laws surrounding data protection which come in to force in May this year.

Ian Macintosh
Iain Mackintosh, Director, Brightman Business Solutions, introducing the workshop.

Thanks to a very generous offer from Brightman UK they secured free information sessions that explained in more detail just what organisations needed to do to comply with the new laws.

Both sessions were very well attended with representatives from more than 30 organisations. Follow up one-to-one sessions are being planned for March and April.

Our thanks to the Ship Inn, Alveston, for their generous use of the room and the refreshments.

Swan Quiz Nights

The Swan Inn.

Thanks to the generosity of Sandra Davies we benefited from the Wednesday evening quizzes at the Swan Inn in Thornbury during April. The sessions raised more than £400, which we shall be putting back into the community by our efforts to support local people to volunteer.

News & information

Christmas closing: The office will be shut from 24 December for the Christmas break. We reopen on 3 January 2019.

Christmas Award Ceremony: To mark our 30th anniversary, we presented special awards to five local organisations.

Alan Hudson award: The 2018 award for volunteering excellence goes to Sandi Shawcross of Thornbury Museum.

Generous donations in November: We received substantial sums from Quiz nights at the Swan Inn and from Thornbury Round Table.

Help raise funds through AmazonSmile: If you shop at Amazon we are donated funds. More information.

Meeting dates arranged: Four meetings of the Volunteer Managers’ Network have been arranged for 2019. Details here.

Updated mailing list: You can now manage your subscription to our mailing list for yourself.

Volunteering opportunities: Most of our many volunteering opportunities are advertised nationally and can be searched online here. Some are advertised locally only and are listed here.

We’re on social media: Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news and events. And all our volunteering opportunities appear there as they’re published.

Thornbury Volunteer Centre is a registered charity, number 1180775. This site © Thornbury Volunteer Centre. Site design by Michael Quinion. Last updated 14 Dec. 2018.