How Lancashire's volunteer army keeps our good causes running

Dedicated volunteers across the Preston area are being celebrated this week for their vital work in the community

Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 2:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th June 2016, 3:48 pm
Kevin Lonergan with event organiser Emma Russ and volunteer at the Galloway's Society for the Blind's Morecambe Bay Walk

Whether it be giving up time to work for Lancashire Constabulary, local charities or working with the elderly those with disabilities to local in Bloom teams and festival committees, volunteers are being congratulated for their efforts for Volunteers’ Week 2016

The national initiative, which runs until June 12, is giving organisations a a great excuse to celebrate the fantastic contribution thousands of volunteers make to the area in addition to encouraging people to sign up for new opportunities.

Preston-based sight-loss charity, Galloway’s Society for the Blind, is thanking their hundreds of volunteers as part of the event and Emma Russ, senior fundraiser at Galloway’s, described them as the ‘back bone of the organisation.’

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The Legacy Rainbow House volunteer Alan Shaw

She says: “To put it simply, we just couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers, they are literally the back bone of our organisation.

“Volunteers support every aspect of our work, from our finance team to delivering our services to local blind and partially sighted people across our four centres.”

Galloway’s supports over 7,000 blind and partially sighted people across Lancashire across its four centres in Preston, Chorley, Southport and Morecambe.

Volunteer for Galloway’s Terry Hazel, 57, from Preston, says: “I started volunteering at Galloway’s about eight months ago, to support their new gardening group in their Penwortham Centre.

Terry Hazel, lead volunteer for Galloways Gardening Club.

“The Gardening Club is made up of local visually impaired people and together we have transformed the gardens at the back of the centre. I was a keen gardener before I started losing some of my sight back in 2009 so I feel like I have a lot to offer the rest of the group.”

Emma adds: “It’s only thanks to Terry, and people like Terry, that we can support so many blind and partially sighted people.

“We’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our volunteers, from our talking news readers to our minibus drivers, each volunteer makes an invaluable contribution to our work.”

Alan Shaw, from Euxton, acts as a handyman, minibus driver and gardener for Rainbow House at Mawdesley.

Preston Galloway's Gardening Club volunteers

The children’s charity benefits massively from volunteers who are willing to assist in all areas of their work.

Over the years, Alan has been involved in endless walks, raffles and crazy ideas to raise funds for various charities, as the money in people’s pockets gets less, and around a year ago he was asked to just help put in some bedding plants at Rainbow House.

Now he is now he is usually there two or three times a week. Alan adds: “Rainbow House is filled with little kids who really need help to survive in this world and it’s such a nice place to be.”

Many of the parents whose children attend Rainbow House help with a range of activities from organising fundraising events to wrapping presents and prizes, filling goody bags and making fun outfits for the Rainbow Ramble and the Board of Trustees and Chair, former Chief Constable Pauline Clare CBE, are all volunteers.

The Legacy Rainbow House volunteer Alan Shaw

Carole Cochrane, chief executive Rainbow House, says: “We have no statutory funding and have to find ways to raise funds to continue to run the charity and deliver our services. Our volunteers’ contribution is of enormous value to us and we thank them all for their time and commitment.”

Galloway’s are always on the lookout for new volunteers and currently have vacancies for a minibus driver, which helps bring local people with sight loss out of social isolation. For more information please call 01772 744148.

Anyone is interested in volunteering at Legacy Rainbow House can ring 01704 823276 or email [email protected]

Terry Hazel, lead volunteer for Galloways Gardening Club.
Preston Galloway's Gardening Club volunteers