Celebrating its volunteers and inviting others to get involved, the Sue Ryder Shop, Louth, from left: Donna Carrack, manager Jo Maltby, Julie Reeve

A Lincolnshire charity is inviting people to use Volunteers’ Week (June 1 to June 7) as their opportunity to get involved in their community.

Volunteers’ Week is a chance to thank all those who already volunteer and seek to promote the benefits, which can include gaining professional qualifications, a new group of friends and sense of purpose.

This year, Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) is also promoting the concept of ‘microvolunteering’ – simple one-off no commitment actions people can do to benefit others – and challenging local groups to come up with ideas of how microvolunteering could benefit them.

One of the many organisations LCVS works with is the Sue Ryder shop in Eastgate, Louth, where the value of volunteering is never underestimated.

Jo Maltby, shop manager at Sue Ryder, said: “We couldn’t run the shop without volunteers. We currently have 19 all doing different hours around their own personal commitments.

“It is really vital as we couldn’t raise the money we do without them. We worked out that every hour a volunteer spends in the shop results in £23 of income so it is a huge benefit to us having people here helping us.

“As well as working in the shop they help at fundraising events throughout the year both internally and externally. We have been involved in Victorian fairs, 1940s fairs, creating crafts for us to sell. We’re always brainstorming to come up with fundraising ideas.

“We get volunteers involved in every aspect of running the shop. We don’t just have people involved in stock management and the more mundane jobs. People are also actively involved in customer service and inducting and training staff – I always think it is good for new volunteers to hear from fellow volunteers.

“Everybody who works here gets on really well and socialises outside of the shop. It’s a really nice environment to be in. We have all different age groups – my youngest volunteer has just left – she was 14. We can take volunteers from age 14 and my oldest is in her 70s.

“We have people here on different placements such as eight week programmes with the Job Centre, but the bones of my volunteers have been here as long as I have – that’s three years and others up to five years.

“We offer NVQs for free in retail, customer service and team leadership. A lot of people come to us to build up their CV but we haven’t really got a typical volunteer profile. We also have people who just want to help in the community and retired people who want to fill their time or meet new people.”

Volunteer Donna Carrack: “Volunteering builds your confidence as you get to mix with a variety of people.”

Mrs Donna Carrack, who has been volunteering at the shop for three years, said: “I enjoy meeting new people and I saw volunteering as an opportunity to return to the retail environment, where I felt I could transfer my existing skills and experience to the benefit of a fantastic charity.

“I enjoy working within this team as not only are they work colleagues, they have become friends.

“Volunteering builds your confidence as you get to mix with a variety of people. The supportive managers encourage us to improve our skills and give us the opportunity to undertake NVQ qualifications. I have completed my NVQs in Customer Service and Retail and I am now working on a Team Leadership qualification.”

Sue Ryder is keen to involve additional volunteers and there are hundreds of other opportunities to volunteer in East Lindsey, whatever your interest, experience or other commitments, with roles ranging from childcare to administration, social media management to befriending.

LCVS connects individuals seeking to volunteer and organisations that need volunteers.

This year, LCVS is challenging community groups to come up with ‘microvolunteering’ ideas of one-off, no commitment tasks volunteers could do for them.

There are many people who would like to support their local community but can’t commit regularly but many organisations haven’t thought of ways to involve them. They include parents who can’t attend every Parent Teacher Association meeting, grandparents who look after grandchildren but would love to use their professional skills from time-to-time and Duke of Edinburgh students.

Mr Jody Raggo, LCVS area officer, said: “We’re challenging all the groups we work with to have a think about the specific tiny actions willing volunteers could do for you either in a one-off visit, from their own homes, in their lunch break or whenever they get five minutes.

“Go on bombard us at jody.r@lincolnshirecvs.org.uk – subject line ‘microvolunteering opportunity’ and set us the challenge of finding someone to help you!”

To find out more about volunteering generally or at Sue Ryder Louth or if you’re a volunteer involving organisation that needs help, see: LCVS Volunteering or contact the LCVS East Lindsey office via 01205 510888 ext 5.

Celebrating its volunteers and inviting others to get involved, the Sue Ryder Shop, Louth, from left: Ian Scott, Donna Carrack, manager Jo Maltby, Julie Reeve