Monmouthshire County Council will mark Volunteers’ Week – an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK – by recognising the success of members of the community who give their time and talents freely.  Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1st to 12th June.

The council will work in partnership with the Monmouthshire Volunteer Centre run by GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations) to raise the profile of volunteering during the week.  A series of events are planned in Monmouthshire to highlight volunteer achievement.

Clare Jones, Volunteering Manager at GAVO outlined the events.  She said: “GAVO’s volunteer centres will actively promote volunteering at various events throughout Gwent including drop-in sessions, presentations to groups, stalls at charity events, fun days and tea parties as well as a presence at a variety of community events like the RSPCA’s open day in Newport on 12th June.  We will officially launch the Volunteer Centre outreach service provided at Monmouth’s Bridges Community Centre and attend local supermarkets to chat with the public to raise awareness of the benefits of volunteering.  We will also be holding volunteering awareness sessions at the Refugee & Asylum Seekers Project on 8th June.  Finally, we will launch the Volunteer Achievement Awards at the Gwent-wide Volunteer Management Network at Pontypool Active Living Centre on 8th June.”

Within Monmouthshire, almost 2,000 volunteers support the county council to make a positive impact on the quality of life of their communities.  Up to thirty volunteers support youth workers and assist in the county’s provisions for young people.  Willing groups regularly survey and maintain rights of way to assist Monmouthshire’s Countryside Service, while events organised by the council owe much to the involvement of those acting as marshals or providing refreshments and first aid.  In outlying areas, the council’s Grass Routes scheme offers a bus service to residents who have difficulty accessing public transport and this relies heavily on volunteers to drive vehicles.  People interested in learning more about the council’s opportunities should contact lead officer for coordinating and developing volunteering, Owen Wilce – owenwilce@monmouthshire.gov.uk or 01633 644420.

While volunteers make a valuable contribution to society they can benefit from new skills, increased confidence, social opportunities and a sense of purpose.  Through the volunteering partnership colleagues offer support and guidance to ensure that volunteering is a valuable and enjoyable experience and it engages with participants to ascertain their needs and expectations.

Monmouthshire’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Bob Greenland added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who already add real value to our public services here in Monmouthshire.  The importance of voluntary contribution to the community cannot be underestimated.  Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity to raise the profile of volunteering within Monmouthshire and to recognise and explore ways of making the experience even better.”

For further information on volunteering within Monmouthshire log onto www.volunteering-wales.net or contact GAVO on 01633 241566.  Local businesses or organisations interested in offering volunteer placements should get in touch with GAVO.