The first week of June is Volunteer’s Week and we want to celebrate the fantastic contribution of our volunteers.
Small charities work hard throughout the year to support their local community and Rockinghorse is no different. With a staff team of only nine, we support thousands of children throughout Sussex every year. But without a dedicated group of volunteers, we simply would not be able to do as much as we do.
This Volunteer’s Week we want to thank all the people who take time out of their own busy lives to help others within their local community and ask more people to consider volunteering.
Sarah Phillips, Projects and Operations Manager at Rockinghorse explains how volunteers make a difference to our work: “We have some absolutely wonderful people that support us, some who have been with us for many years. As there are so few of us in the team, we really rely on these extra hands to help us at events like the Brighton Marathon and our recent Emerald Ball, as well as helping us in the office and delivering donations around the county.
“Without their help we would have to make some difficult decisions about what events we could take part in which would ultimately impact on our fundraising and how many children and families we could help.”
If you haven’t previously done any volunteering, if might feel a bit daunting; Where do I start? What kind of things would I be doing? But once you make that decision to get involved it can really have a positive impact. As well as helping others, volunteering has been shown to improve your wellbeing- it’s feels great to help someone else out.
And, volunteering also helps you gains valuable new skills and experiences, even boosting your confidence.
Sarah Hatcher has been volunteering for Rockinghorse for about four years and has a personal reason for getting involved: “A few years ago my daughter Ruby was being helped with her mental health at Chalkhill and I found out that Rockinghorse funds an activity programme there. This gave me a real insight into how Rockinghorse help. The programme gave the young people something to do during their time at the hospital which was really important.
So, I decided I wanted to give something back and while I can’t necessarily afford to donate money, I can donate my time. I have volunteered at marathons, quizzes and abseils and have really enjoyed everything I have done. Everyone is friendly, you get to know more about the charity and the good that they do.
Plus, they are only a small charity, so they really need our help.”
One of the great things about volunteering is that anyone one, young or old, can get involved and gain some great experiences. Grace, a Year 9 pupil from Brighton is volunteering with us as part of her bronze Duke of Edinburgh award.
Grace said: “I really wanted to volunteer at a local charity, and I thought Rockinghorse would be good as it supports children. I was a bit nervous when I started but everyone has been really nice and supportive, and it’s been great fun.
“Along with helping out at the office and with planning events, I am also going to be going along to volunteer at the next iDrop in June which I’m really excited about.”
Volunteering has so many benefits from making new friends to getting to know your local community and even helping your job prospects. But above all it’s great fun!
And along with individual volunteers, many local companies arrange for their employees to volunteer in the local area. Karolina Paczwa and Paul Jarrold from the Cooperative Bank recently volunteered for Rockinghorse at the Brighton Marathon and had a great time.
Karolina said: “Being able to volunteer with approval of the work, sometimes even within working hours, shows we can offer more than money, we can offer that special personal touch.”
Paul added: “I truly enjoyed myself! There was a lovely bunch of fellow volunteers who made me so, so welcome. Volunteering gives you a great feeling of belonging to the community and society in general and because I work at an ethical bank, it’s important to be able to contribute to others in a small way.”
And if the thought of volunteering is still a bit daunting, Grace has some words of advice: “It can feel a bit scary at first, especially if you don’t know many people, but you soon start to have fun. It’s also really improved my confidence in meeting new people and the things I have learned will really help my CV.”
So be inspired to make a difference in your local community and get involved!