Next week is National Volunteers Week. Volunteering, the act of giving time and effort with no expectation of reward, plays a vital part in the work of many charities and non-government organisations. Volunteers use their time, skills and talents in a wide range of roles depending on the work of the organisation they chose to support.
In this way volunteering is seen as an act of giving. But there is another side – what the volunteer receives. Beyond the satisfaction one gets from helping others there are many tangible benefits to volunteering. For the young person or unemployed volunteering can provide structured work experience quite often with opportunities for training. For the recently retired adjusting to a life without work is not easy so volunteering is a way of using the sudden increase in free time. Volunteering is a highly social activity bringing you into contact with a wide range of people – managers and paid staff of the organisation, service users, the public and other volunteers. Being a volunteer connects you to the community.
For the past six years as part of a celebration for National Volunteers Week the Lancashire Dotcom Walkers have organised a walk in Cuerden Valley Park. In 2013 we met with volunteers, staff and service users of Brothers of Charity Services and went for a walk to the Mound, an area of open space on the edge of Buckshaw Village. We enjoyed perfect weather for our walk and picnic. We had a great day.
Cuerden Valley Park which straddles the boundaries of South Ribble and Chorley is a volunteer hotspot with five other organisations either in the park or near it whose work is enhanced by voluntary effort these being the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Greater Manchester and North Merseyside, Sue Ryder Care based at Cuerden Hall, St Catherine’s Hospice Care, Lancashire Mind basd in Chorley and the park itself which is run by a charitable trust and is supported by a thriving “Friends” group. So in 2014 we invited participants from all these charities to walk with us. That invitation has been issued ever since.
The National Volunteers Week walk as well as celebrating the role of volunteers in our community acts as a “come and try it” event. We are aware that there are many readers who are interested in the idea of walking in a group but have anxieties on whether they are fit enough to keep up with the others. The dread of being at the rear and holding up the group is a common one but in reality most people do just fine. If you are free and would like spend an agreeable few hours in a beautiful country park please come and join us.
June 4 detailsMeet at Cuerden Valley Park Town Brow car PR6 7EUThe following timetable is offered as a broad plan to give readers an idea of the timescale of the event:10.30 Briefing10.35 Walk starts11.00 Short stop at the Visitors centre and tea room11.10 Walk continues12.30 Party arrives at Lisieux Hall home of Brothers of Charity Services Lancashire. The service is dedicated to supporting and caring for adults with a learning disability.After being welcomed12.30 – 1.00 Presentation in the chapel by Voice For All self-advocacy group. The VFA advocacy group meets to talk about issues affecting its members who are supported by Brothers of Charity as well as sharing good news stories, successes and achievements. Two serving members Lizzie McClennan and Becky Gammon are recipients of the Derek Russell Leadership award which was given in recognition of their outstanding service as advocates. 1.00 – 1.30 Picnic in the grounds of Lisieux Hall1.30 – 2.00 Walk to the Mound for official photograph,2.00 – 3.00 Return
The full walk is a little under 6 ½ miles with numerous stops. If you think this is too long there is a short walk from Lisieux Hall (Postcode: PR6 7DX) which will start after 1.00pm and is no longer than 1 ½ miles. After parking in the visitors car park make your way to the chapel and make yourself known to one of the marshals. Phone: 07733227643 for further details.
- By Bob Clare, Volunteer supporting the advocacy group Voice for All at Brothers of Charity Services, Lisieux Hall and contributor to www.lancashirewalks.com.