Dedicated volunteers in North Yorkshire are recognised for their contributions

Dedicated volunteers in North Yorkshire are being recognised for the contribution they make to their community in celebration of Volunteers Week (June 1 to 7).

By Gemma Jimmison
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 12:18 pm

North Yorkshire County Council offers a variety of volunteering opportunities from helping in a library to supporting young people in the Youth Justice Service.

To mark Volunteers Week, residents are being encouraged to find out what opportunities are on offer in their local area.

County Council leader Carl Les said: “It’s important to reflect on the life changing role that volunteers play in supporting communities across North Yorkshire. Many of our services rely on the work of volunteers to function, so we know how vital it is to encourage more people to get involved.

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“Our volunteers speak of improved health and wellbeing from building connections with new people and giving them a feeling of purpose. You have the choice to dip in and out of activities or volunteer on a regular basis, and will always be well supported by staff.”

The county’s libraries have a fantastic relationship with volunteers who are essential to the service. One of the services they support is the IT buddy scheme, which has increased in popularity since the pandemic.

In his retirement, Brian Coan has been volunteering as an IT buddy at Northallerton library. He helps to guide people with the skills they need to use computers and the internet.

He said: “When I retired I had a bee in my bonnet because a lot of people, particularly older ones, said they couldn’t use computers because they were not bright enough. I knew that wasn’t the case and was determined to make myself available to at least help people learn the basics.

Many hard to reach and vulnerable residents also benefit from shopping and medication deliveries, community transport and befriending calls or visits while Youth Justice Service volunteers work with young people that get into trouble with the law and support them to stay away from crime. An Appropriate Adult volunteer, who has worked in the NHS for 32 years, said: “Within my role I strive to provide the attention and help young people within my care need. I liaise with other services that can support and guide these young people back on track, to make the most of their lives whilst staying on the right side of the law.”

A survey of volunteers conducted in 2021 by the county council found that 97% are very satisfied or satisfied with the volunteer experience and 94% are likely to volunteer in the long-term.

People can find out about volunteering roles within the council at www.northyorks.gov.uk/volunteering and other opportunities at www.communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk/volunteering.