Two men with their faces painted, smiling at camera

31st May 2023

Volunteers’ Week: 1 – 7 June 2023

“You are the lifeblood of all that we do”
– Alistair Doxat-Purser, CEO

Volunteers Week logo

285 volunteers enable us to run 5 Food Banks, our CMA debt advice and budget service, SMILE lone parent families project and support for those moving on from homelessness, addiction and prison via our Arch programme.

Many of you who give your time have been volunteering for years, behind the scenes faithfully serving others.  The time you give means we can organise free family events like the recent SMILE Lone Parent Fair where 60 volunteers helped bake cakes, provided a pamper parlour, ran stalls, cooked the BBQ, provided a teenage chillout zone, painted faces and more!

A child having their face painted

The event provided 83 parents and 134 children with a free day of fun, treats and the opportunity to connect with others. For some families it was the first time they had been to a SMILE event.

A group of teenagers and adults sitting on the grass and painting henna

Those who give time through volunteering have a huge impact on the lives of those they encounter around them. Often life-changing and life-saving. It can be a serious business.

Our Arch project provides placements through the Training programme to build work experience, life skills and confidence for the future. These are available through The Storehouse (furniture delivery service), Carpenters Workshop and the Gardening Team.

Trainee Paul* joined The Storehouse, assisting with furniture collection and deliveries for those moving on from homelessness. He explained how the scheme has impacted on his life:

“If I’ve got money and I’m bored that’s when I use. Where as if I know I’m going to do a day at The Storehouse… You can come home and think I’ve done something good today.”
*Name changed to protect privacy

However, as volunteers there is also plenty of time to have fun and bring joy to others in the process. Some of you have bravely put on fancy dress such as at Wimborne Food Bank’s Santa Grotto, had your faces painted at Family Fun Days, painted others’ faces and met creepy crawlies and wild creatures – you can see the elves at Wimborne Food Bank getting carried away with present wrapping below!

Three people with elves hats on, two women stood either side of a man pretending to wrap him up, the man has a surprised look on his face

“The volunteers made us smile today and made us feel valued as people.”
– guest at Wimborne Food Bank+

No matter what role you play, it is clear that our incredible team of volunteers see each person they meet as an individual, treating them with great respect and leaving them with a fresh sense of hope and dignity.  Do not underestimate what you do, your time changes lives.  We could not do what we do without you.

Samantha* has been living on the streets for a number of years, she recently came into contact with the homelessness support available through Half-time and the meal at Connection Stations. She said:

“Give someone some time. You could change their life.”
*Name changed to protect privacy

The support of the volunteers on the team have been key to Samantha feeling valued and being able to face the future with hope again.

Whichever role you do, no matter where and how long you have been volunteering, we celebrate you this Volunteers’ Week. Thank you for the time and care you take as you walk alongside those around you. As Alistair said: “You are the lifeblood of all that we do” – listen to Alistair’s full message below…

If you would like to help change others lives through volunteering, we have plenty of opportunities to get involved. We currently need Food Bank and furniture delivery drivers, assistance on our garden team and a carpenters workshop volunteer and more.

You can find out more about our current volunteer vacancies page below…

Volunteer opportunities

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