The new year has arrived, a time for everyone to be making those all-important resolutions, so why not ditch the tired eat less chocolate and lose more weight proclamations and resolve to volunteer for a charity?
Guild Care relies on its hard-working volunteers and considers them a key element of the organisation. Whether they are working in its shops, volunteering in its centres, driving its vans and minibuses, or working in its care homes, all of them have a valuable role.
Volunteers are the individuals who are the faces of the organisation and proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with Guild Care staff.
This month, Mary celebrates 29 years as a volunteer at Guild Care. Mary was introduced to the charity when it was known as Worthing Area Guild, through the mum of her neighbour, who encouraged her to visit one of its day centres, where she now volunteers weekly, helping with bingo and serving meals.
She said: “I’ve made a lot of friends through volunteering but what I love to do most is to make people happy. I like to think I am making a difference to their day.
“I like to cheer them up, as some of the people who do use the day centre are lonely and this is the only social interaction they get.”
Asked if she would recommend volunteering, Mary said: “Oh yes, for sure. If you are thinking about giving something back to the community then please come to our day centre, give it a go, making other people happy really can give you pleasure as well.”
Volunteers are at the heart of Guild Care and anyone of any age can volunteer if willing to spare their time and give back to the community.
James is 15 and has been volunteering in one of Guild Care’s shops at the weekend for the past few months.
He said: “With my studies that I normally do in the week, I normally come into the charity shop once a week on a Saturday afternoon, which fits in with everything and gives me a little break from school, and in the holidays I try to do at least one extra.
“I like the experience of meeting customers every day, changing the shop around and just having a laugh.”
Of course, many people lead busy lives and may think that they have no time to volunteer but volunteering is very flexible and can work around people’s schedules.
There are also many benefits to volunteering, such as making new friends in a new environment, knowing you are making a difference to your own community and a special inclusivity that means that anyone, no matter their age, can find purpose within their valuable role.
Volunteer co-ordinator Claire Hutchinson said: “If you’ve ever thought about volunteering, now is the perfect time to get involved.
“At the moment, we are especially keen to hear from anyone who would like to lend a hand in one of our charity shops. You don’t need to have had any previous experience, just bring your enthusiasm.
“Our lovely charity shop volunteers are all ages and from all kinds of backgrounds who all want to make a difference in their local community. There are lots of laughs, too. We can be really flexible, so you can volunteer around your other commitments, even an hour or two is a great help.”
Guild Care is particularly looking for volunteers at its shops in Rowlands Road, Goring Road, Warwick Street, The GreenHouse and The Strand shops. Contact Claire on 01903 600602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.