Reach Gives Thanks as National Volunteers Week Begins

In News by Katrina Pierce

Volunteers' Week: 1-7 June 2019

Staff and clients of Reach are preparing to celebrate the significant annual contribution of volunteers throughout the first week of June.

Reach Learning Disability is set to hold a series of events during Volunteers’ Week, which takes place 1st to 7th June each year.

Reach will be working with clients to actively thank and celebrate our volunteers who collectively contribute over 20,000 volunteering hours to the charity’s services every year. Reach clients tell staff what a difference working alongside volunteers makes to their confidence and communication skills so they have planned “thank you” events and activities including:

  • a “thank you” event for volunteers, held at Reach’s social enterprise Flower Pod.
  • a “thank you” lunch for volunteers at Reach Newark prepared by learners on the Cook and Eat course.
  • an afternoon tea prepared for volunteers by clients during the morning baking session at Reach Mansfield.
  • a “thank you” lunch for Southwell volunteers cooked by clients as part of the Healthy Cookery group
  • a stall manned by volunteers selling hand-crafted gifts from Flower Pod at the Southwell Summer Twilight Market in the Market Square on Friday 7th June from 5pm to 8pm.

Funding from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme has helped Reach to develop its volunteering programme. So far this has included new training and development for volunteers, offering supported volunteering places to people with learning disabilities, and undertaking community involvement activities that challenge negative stereotypes about people with learning disabilities.

Julia Sandhu, Fundraising Director at Reach, said today: “The Local Improvement Scheme funding has helped us to recruit and support our wonderful volunteers, including enabling people with learning disabilities to undertake valuable supported volunteering placements.”

Councillor John Handley, Vice-Chairman of Communities & Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: We’re delighted to support Reach’s volunteer programme through our Local Improvement Scheme and I’m thrilled that Reach is recognising the huge role their volunteers play in improving the quality of life of their service users. Nottinghamshire is blessed to have so many selfless, enthusiastic volunteers, without whom the county would grind to a halt and the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities would be much the poorer.”

Also in June, Flower Pod volunteer Nicola Twidale will prepare a garden display at BBC Gardeners’ World Live in Birmingham between 13th and 16th June.  Nicola was short-listed in a BBC ‘Beautiful Borders’ competition, winning the chance to bring her design to life.  Her design is inspired by Flower Pod and the power of horticultural therapy.  Nicola has used the competition theme of “Our Space” to produce a relaxing and calming scheme that she will recreate in real life at the Gardeners’ World Live event. The design incorporates a willow structure offering a safe, enclosed seating area, surrounded by tactile, scented planting in a calming colour palette.  The seats are fashioned from logs at Flower Pod, with mosaic applied under guidance from another dedicated Reach volunteer.  A handmade bug hotel produced by Flower Pod clients, offers habitat for bees and pollinators.

Nicola says: “I was inspired to create my garden by my time at Flower Pod. It’s such a special place which exudes a feeling of calm and peace whist always being great fun.  I always come away with a smile on my face and have met some wonderful people, who I look forward to seeing each week.”

Julia Sandhu, said: “Our fantastic volunteers like Nicola make such a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities. By sharing their time and diverse skills, they help our clients to participate more fully in activities and feel more confident about communicating with other people. They help open up new horizons and possibilities.  Nicola’s garden will help spread the word about Flower Pod and also raise awareness of the needs and aspirations of people with learning disabilities.”

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