Volunteers’ Week, which ran from 1-7 June 2023, is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering in their communities.
Volunteers are at the heart of every community across the UK, and Nacro’s volunteers play a hugely important role in what we do. From ex-service users who have the opportunity to give back and gain work experience, to members of the community that want to help people move forward in their lives.
Our chief executive Campbell Robb has worked with volunteers throughout his career, from his time at various charities, to working in the civil service setting up an award to recognise the contributions volunteers make to our society.
Here he shares his highlights and why we should say ‘thank you’.
A thank you to volunteers
The best story in any charity I have worked in is the one that goes… “I used to use this service, then I volunteered to give something back and now I work here.” It never fails to make me happy. Volunteering is the life blood of so many organisations and it takes so many different forms. From trustees to garden clearances, from clothes and food banks, to mentors, at Nacro we have a whole range of people who choose to help us out on their own time. From ex service users to business leaders, from those who have retired to students just starting out, our volunteers come from every walk of life but all come with the same dedication and commitment.
I have been lucky enough to see the value of volunteers across the country, when I used to run an award called the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The equivalent of an honour, it recognises the brilliant work individuals and groups make to their community. Judging who got one was one of the hardest things I have ever done as I just wanted to give them all the award. Part of the reason we couldn’t was because those who did get the award were invited to a party at Buckingham Palace. Watching the late Queen spend hours talking to as many of those awardees as she could really showed me that volunteering was recognised and appreciated at the very highest levels.
Without volunteering, so many organisations like us would not be able to deliver the level of service, the care and the outcomes that we do. That is why it’s critical that we all take the time to thank any volunteers in our midst, to recognise their work and at the very least make them a cup of tea…