National Volunteer Week

“National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognising and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals” This statement applies to us at SDN as much as to every volunteer organisation.

Shropshire Disability Network is totally run by volunteers, so without these valued people we would not exist. It is good that each year there is a designated week that focuses on volunteering as it gives people the chance to not only get new volunteers, but also to say “thank you” for what they do & try to celebrate this in some way.

After operating for 4 years, we became a registered charity last year, this could not have been accomplished if we had not had dedicated and committed people giving of their time, talents and gifts to us.

In our financial year to 31St May 2012 over 5244 hours were given to SDN, multiply this by the minimum wage that equals £318835 in monetary terms. This year we think figures will exceed that! So from all at SDN Thank You to all who volunteer for us.

Much work is done behind the scenes by people, but you never hear their names mentioned. Many of our volunteers have disabilities or long term conditions meaning they “dip in” and dip out” as circumstances dictate while others have young families, and day jobs that must take priority. We appreciate what people feel able to give but it is true “More hands make light work”

Never do we hear complaints from our volunteers and we would like to hear more comments like “I really would like to make a difference” or I can help with that” or “Actually that is something I would enjoy doing” or “I have been thinking how could I help SDN…but I can only do say 2 hours a week.” We can help you find your niche & are grateful for anytime you can spare us.

We have heard people say after volunteering “I never knew about ….until I did …..” Or “I really enjoyed….”, or “I found that rewarding”

Some of us find volunteering as a way to build confidence after loosing a job or suffering from a disability. There are some great stories to be heard from people who have decided to volunteer and make a difference to the lives of others. Others take the opportunity to learn a new skill which often leads to other things ie increased self esteem, new friends, new family, being linked with others in similar situations, idea sharing, achieving something you never thought possible because you didn’t have the contacts and encouragement needed and the list could go on and on.

Shropshire Disability Network in the last few months has found a large increase in enquires to our [email protected] and [email protected] email addresses, which may be in part as a result of Welfare Reforms taking place and people needing to find out information. It shows we are needed and are providing you with what you need.

SDN has two prime tools to work with and that is our website at www.shropshire-disability.net  and our newsletter “Your Voice” which is produced On-line monthly and as a printed version for those with no IT access or this method of accessing it is inappropriate to receive in this way We also have a dedicated Volunteer who reads some articles onto “You Tube each month enabling people those with visual impairment to access information. We have areas within SDN where we need your help.

Would you give one or two hours a week or half a day a month to help us expand our work, reach more people and bring information to our members? If so we would like to hear from you.

Just a few hours a month could make a huge difference to us.

There are many opportunities available at Shropshire Disability Network for example:

People who would help read articles onto “You Tube” (training available)

We need “Reporters/Interviewers” who can telephone companies/organisations and or interview people at events inShropshirepeople about disability issues. You would then report back with items of interest for our website/and or newsletter. May be there are members who would like to inform us about their experiences but need help in doing so.(SDN would give support and guidance & have a video camera and that you would use). We can reimburse essential out of pocket expenses.

We need people to join a small Fund-Raising sub group who can assist in raising funds for us.(You would work within the group so may have small tasks to do but then help at the event.

May be you have IT skills that you could use by inputting information onto our website-(training would be given) For example Our A-Z listing of organisations has to be updated as we are informed or hear about changes and additions.

We need a Membership Secretary who can welcome our new members when they join but would also be able to promote SDN at our information stands/meetings. He/She would also receive and write to members who join us via the postal service.

May be something above appeals to you or you have a couple of hours a week or a month that you would like to give to us, but don’t really know in what area. If that is you, we would like to hear from you by emailing us at [email protected] or [email protected] or by contacting our Chairperson on 01952 245015(Office Hours only) or our Outreach Officer on 01743 340832.

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