This is my first ever blog and one that I am keen to write.
It just so happens that volunteers’ week started yesterday and what a week it is going to be. 2017 gives us a massive reason to celebrate. Not only are we marking 50 years as a registered charity, we are also celebrating the fact that we have been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in her Birthday Honours and been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest Honour that can be given to volunteer groups across the UK for outstanding work and is the equivalent of an MBE for the organisation; testament to the time spent by volunteers in helping to combat loneliness and isolation amongst our older people.
This award has been given specifically for our volunteers, without which we simply would not exist. Together our volunteers dedicate nearly 6,000 hours of unpaid time every year. Many of them have been with us years – some for even 20 or 25 years. That’s a massive commitment to the organisation and to improving the lives of older people in Sheffield. The Queen’s Award is a recognition that their efforts are absolutely at the heart of what we do.
As winners of the Award we were invited to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace and thought it only right that we should send volunteers. So last Tuesday (23rd May) two SCCCC volunteers, Anne Ashforth and Rosemary Ashburner attended Buckingham Palace where they were able to mingle with other winners of the Award and get closer to Her Majesty The Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family than they ever thought possible. Needless to say they both had a fantastic day.
During this last year SCCCC has recruited more volunteers than any time in its recent history. This is excellent news because it means that more people recognise that there is a big issue affecting older people but also more and more people are willing to do something about it. We are however still recruiting because the demand we have for help is far greater than the number of volunteers we have available. If you know someone who might be interested please tell them to get in touch.
As Chief Executive of SCCCC I am immensely proud of what past and present volunteers have done and continue to do for SCCCC and for the older people they visit. Without their passion and commitment we would not have the organisation that we have today.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our wonderful volunteers and let them know just how much they are appreciated. Well done to everyone concerned.
By Mark Storey, Chief Executive Officer, SCCCC