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Orwell Housing Gets Behind Volunteers Week 2019

Orwell Housing Gets Behind Volunteers Week 2019

Volunteers Week runs from 3-7 June 2019.  It is a UK-wide campaign, now in its 35th year; its primary objective is to recognise, celebrate and say thank you to the thousands of volunteers across the UK.

Image of Orwell staff “It is also a great opportunity to raise the profiles of some of the great people who volunteer at Orwell Housing Association,” said Gemma Bloomfield, Business Development Manager (Support and Care) at Orwell Housing Association.

Community360, who are based in Colchester, has been working with Orwell Housing Association to recruit volunteers the past year.  They have been working with their staff and the community to recruit volunteers who can generously give their time to enrich the lives of older people and the vulnerable, ensuring they stay connected to others and their communities. 

“This could be helping with community projects such as gardening or DIY, to helping in one of our care schemes, assisting with admin or finance, befriending, reading or running an activity such as dance and keep-fit projects.  We have also welcomed volunteers to support those with learning disabilities, the homeless and young people, whom we support here at Orwell.” Said Gemma.

“Giving your time as a volunteer can be extremely rewarding, which is why we have a wide range of roles at Orwell for you to choose.  Volunteering can have a positive impact on your community, and it can have a lot of benefits for you too.”

Debs Warren started to volunteer at Orwell Housing Association when her mother came to live at Sydney Brown Court, one of Orwell’s’ Extra Care Schemes in May 2017.

“I love talking to older people and very quickly became friendly with quite a few of the residents.  My last job, before I retired, was as an Activities Co-ordinator working with people with dementia.  I decided quite quickly that I’d like to volunteer and now go regularly on a Wednesday.  I take part in a number of activities including crafts, baking and, reminiscing,” said Debs.

“During 2018 some of the residents wanted to tidy up the pots in the garden so we formed a gardening club.  We have fund-raised and managed to get a grant for a pergola.  Residents have been choosing what plants they wanted in the garden and where they went.  This year we are even taking part in the Hadleigh Hidden Gardens.

Volunteering is so rewarding, I enjoy talking with everyone, sharing memories and having fun.  I would recommend it to anyone.  The scheme manager, Adele Brewer, and her staff are fantastic and always helpful.  I absolutely love volunteering at Sydney Brown Court.”

Orwell Housing Association also has a staff volunteer programme which gives their staff one day per year to go and volunteer for a local charity.

Recently the Development Team spent a day at EACH Children’s Hospice.  “EACH was our charity of the year in 2018, therefore we decided as a team that we would like to volunteer for them,” said Greg Dodds, Assistant Director of Development at Orwell Housing Association.

“We had a great day recently with them, we lent a hand in their garden, painted fences and furniture and even did a bit of power washing!  I would encourage anyone who is given a Corporate Social Responsibility day (Volunteering day) to use it.  It’s great for team building and doing something different for a good cause.”

Naomi Ryan is a Support Worker at Emily Bray House, one of Orwell Housing Associations; Extra Care Schemes.  “I wanted to do some volunteering within Orwell to enhance my career and to get experience of working in different areas of the business,” said Naomi.  I approached John Livingstone from Community360, and he has set up some volunteering days for me at Head Office in administration.  It may seem strange to want to volunteer for the company I already work for, but I am gaining experience and confidence as well as helping what is a very busy department.”

Community360 is an independent charity.  Established in 1968 to assist charities, voluntary and community organisations in Colchester and Braintree (300+) through any activities which provide representation, enable development, encourage liaison, nurture strategic partnerships and provide support to promote voluntary action.

Orwell, with help from Community 360, aim to recruit at least 100 volunteers across the support and care division.