Last week was Volunteers' Week and all around the UK and Northern Ireland we took the opportunity to celebrate our volunteers' achievements and thank them for their dedication. Below you can read about some of the events and stories from our local services.
If you are a Cruse staff member or volunteer and have a story to share please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about volunteering for Cruse see www.cruse.org.uk/volunteer. For stories of volunteers and those they have helped in their own words see www.cruse.org.uk/our-stories.
Afternoon tea at Belfast Castle
Cruse Bereavement Care in Northern Ireland invited 100 volunteers to Belfast Castle for afternoon tea, to celebrate achieving the Investing in Volunteers Quality Standard, recognising the excellent work they do with volunteers. Investing in Volunteers is the UK quality standard for all organisations involving volunteers.Investing in Volunteers aims to improve the quality of the volunteering experience for all volunteers and for organisations to acknowledge the enormous contribution made by volunteers.
The difference a year can make
Penny Marriner from York told us: "It was a difficult time financially last year for Cruse York & North Yorkshire Area. All the statutory funding had been withdrawn, clients were feeling the pinch so donating less, so our cash reserve was rapidly disappearing.
"But our brilliant Volunteers, like the Cavalry, galloped to the rescue. Some gave talks on Cruse to local groups, others ran or cycled for Area, tin shaking, coffee mornings and table top sales were organised. Four volunteers undertook a swimathon, raising £627.50 (see Anne and Pauline with their medals, right). And one volunteer offered to do some fundraising. Cat Adlam took on the role of Area Business Manager and turned the Area’s finances around almost immediately. Motivating a small group of volunteers she generated funds from Trusts and fundraising events bringing the Area back into the black and secure financially for this year.
A very big thank you to Cat and to all our Volunteers, who have not only continued their valuable work with clients but have helped raise money in so many ways to save our Area."
A Star in Gwent
Colin Hector from Cruse has won Star Volunteer of the Year for Gwent. The awards were announced during the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Volunteer Recognition Evening - all voluntary organisations in Gwent could make one nomination in one category only. In the category for Star Volunteer of the Year there were impressive citations for all three shortlisted nominees. Colin received a glass star, in presentation box, engraved with his name and that of Cruse.
Vasillia Willaims chair of Gwent Cruse said “I am sure you all join me in sending congratulations to Colin on an award which is richly deserved. I am incredibly proud that Colin has received this accolade which, for me, is an acknowledgement of the amazing service we provide. Each and every one of our volunteers make it possible.”
A personal thanks
Hanneke Keegan offered this personal letter of thanks to her fellow Cruse volunteers in Cambridge.
“On the 1st May my husband of 43 years died after a long history of various illnesses. During the last few years I became his full-time carer and was house-bound for much of the time (although I was able to continue my Cruse work, albeit in a limited way). My heartfelt thanks go out to so many of my fellow volunteers who supported me in so many ways. I also thank all at Cambridge Cruse and to National Cruse in general for being a life-line to me during the last 8 years and who trained me and gave me the strength to now move forward and continue with our work.
We were lucky and fortunate that my husband died in his own home, in his sleep and in no pain. At 81, he was more than ready to go, so I have no regrets, feel no anger or guilt and my fantastic family and I are at peace with his death. So many of our clients are not as privileged. For the moment I cannot help them with their journey at the 'coal face' but in the not too distant future I hope to be able to support them once again".
Birmingham fundraising volunteer Jennie Burrows was recently nominated locally for the Volunteer Fundraiser of the year at BVSC and was shortlisted and invited to a official awards ceremony at Aston Hall on the 4 June. Jennie succeeds in helping to raise around £25,000 each year by writing to grant making bodies locally and supports me in larger fund raising bids. She also helps organise our annual Footprints walk and the presentation and content of Birmingham’s Annual Review.
Lesley Hayles of Birminghan Cruse said; “Jennie is committed, loyal, reliable and a joy to work with. We are very lucky to have her as one of our team.”