|It’s the little things that make a difference
To mark national Volunteers’ Week (1st – 7th June) residents in Wigan Borough are being encouraged to sign up to make a difference in their communities.
Hundreds of residents already devote their spare time to giving something back but, as part of The Deal, Wigan Council wants to recruit even more.
There are a whole host of volunteering opportunities available in the borough from joining a local In Bloom group to helping older people to get online.
Lots of volunteers are already putting their skills to use to give something back in their communities.
Don Jenkins, aged 71 from Leigh, has signed up to volunteer for a new, volunteer led door to door transport service which will connect local people who may be socially isolated to local activities.
Don agreed to volunteer for ‘Driven’ after meeting the owner, local businessman Ian Tomlinson, at Leigh Pensioner’s Link. Don has lived in Leigh most of his life but had some driving experience in a previous community transport role in Wales.
Since moving back to Leigh he was surprised that there wasn’t anything like it already up and running.
He said: “I know there is a need for the community transport and I was surprised there was nothing in the borough. There is a need for something that offers people a door to door service, particularly for disabled people or older people who find it difficult to travel.
“I’m retired, it gives me something to do and helps people. It’s nice to do something for the community.
“If you’re thinking about becoming a volunteer just don’t worry, you might think there are big hurdles but it’s not that big of a problem. Just come along – you’ll be shown the ropes, people will show you what to do and you’ll enjoy it.”
“When I first started volunteering it’s a little bit daunting because you feel the responsibility and it feels like a lot to learn at the beginning. After a while you get to know people and you have your regulars, you can chat to them and it’s a nice thing. It’s really rewarding.”
Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council, said: “We’re very lucky to have such a wide network of volunteers here in the borough.
“As part of The Deal we’re encouraging more residents to put their skills to good use and help make a difference in their community by becoming a volunteer.
“You don’t need to give up a huge amount of your time – even simple things such as signposting your friends and family to a health service, helping out for an hour at your local library or picking up litter in your street will make a difference.”
Community transport scheme Driven was awarded £297,780 from the council’s community investment fund. To volunteer for the scheme contact Ian Tomlinson at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the range of volunteering opportunities in the borough visit www.wigan.gov.uk/volunteering