Skegness is gearing up for a big celebration of the volunteers who give their time to support the people, animals, landscape and heritage of the town.

Skegness Volunteers’ Week will take place from March 18th to 24th and will be an opportunity for the many charities, clubs and community groups to thank all the volunteers who help them do their good work.

The celebration is a project initiated by Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS) with support from Lincolnshire County Council, Skegness Town Council, Lincolnshire Coastal Destination BID and local charities including Skegness Rotary Club and Skegness Round Table.

All organisations, large and small, are being invited to get involved by recognising and thanking the work of their volunteers. They are also being asked to count up the hours their volunteers give to support their activities. These will then be displayed at Hildreds Shopping Centre which will also act as an information point throughout the week.

Skegness Volunteers’ Week will also provide a range of opportunities for people to get involved and try out volunteering. There are plans for a town clean-up, some guerilla vegetable planting and guerilla knitting, chances to try out being a a radio presenter with County Linx Radio, try piloting a trishaw with Cycling Without Age Skegness, be a campaigner for Diabetes UK, help with habitat and woodland conservation at the Eco Centre and much much more.

Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service Area Officer for East Lindsey Kathryn Laverack said: “Many things in Skegness wouldn’t happen without volunteers – there would be no Scouts, no Lives Responders, no St John’s Ambulance, no Credit Union, no charity shops, no fundraising, no Skegness Ambassadors, no beach cleans, no Coastwatch, no befriending services, no clubs and societies…

“Volunteers’ Week is a great opportunity to showcase the work of all the voluntary organisations in Skegness and how their volunteers help them. When we add up the thousands of hours given, we expect the number to be quite staggering.

“Volunteering can be something you do every so often, such as helping at a beach clean, a regular activity or a larger commitment, if you are helping run an organisation for example.

“Even a small time commitment can make a real difference your local community.”

Barbara Bray, (70) is a volunteer for Lincolnshire Credit Union. She works as part of a team of volunteers providing information and support at the Credit Union Access point at the Storehouse, Skegness, on Wednesday mornings.

Barbara said: “I started volunteering for the Credit Union about three years ago. My husband was already a volunteer and asked me to help and I am very pleased I did.

“The Credit Union offers loans to anyone, but as it has charitable aims it can provide loans that are potentially the only alternative for people who may otherwise be thinking of turning to loan sharks, so we are offering a really a valuable service to local people. We can help people build up their credit ratings and encourage them to save for a rainy day.

“I help with form filling and signposting to other services. I am supporting people who are financially disadvantaged and often with learning disabilities.

“It isn’t a very big commitment in time but I am part of the team and we all help each other out. It is so good to know that you are helping, I really look forward to going and it gets me out of the house!”

Some volunteering roles are more time consuming. Sarah Mochan is the Captain of Skegness Cycling Without Age (CWA) and helps the more elderly residents of Skegness get out and get the wind in their hair as a trishaw pilot.

Sarah, who also works full time running her own business, said” “I first saw the Cycling Without Age trishaws on breakfast television and was so impressed by the message and the method that I decided it was just what we needed here in Skegness.

“I admit it was hard work setting up the scheme. There was lots of fundraising, lots of policies and procedures and lots of training, but when I see what we have achieved, it makes it all worth it.

“I still get quite emotional when I see the smiling faces in the back of the trishaw! The community of Skegness has also been so supportive and I continue to be motivated by the fact that so many people want to help. It’s a great feeling.”

To find out more about Skegness Voluteers’ Week, or to get involved, visit the Facebook page @SkegVolunteers, follow the tag #SkegVolunteers,o r call LCVS on 01205 510888.