Join our volunteer army

SKILLS: Sandy Taylor HVDA launches a career coaching course.
SKILLS: Sandy Taylor HVDA launches a career coaching course.

THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. Love doing it. Having a great time.

These are the sort of comments from people working in Hartlepool’s voluntary world.

But more people are needed to join the ranks of the community army in everything from catering to clerical work and finance to first aid.

The team at the Volunteer Centre, Hartlepool Voluntary Development Agency, based in Victoria Road, wants to hear from more.

And for those interested, there’s a weekly chance to find out extra detail.

Centre co-ordinator Julie Laking said: “We have been offering a valuable volunteering service to the people of Hartlepool since 1986.

“Our advisers understand that everyone has different needs, abilities, interests and commitments.

“We can offer information, knowledge and expertise on the full range of volunteering activities to develop the ideal opportunity tailored to suit your needs.”

The centre holds open days each Wednesday from 10am to 2pm for anyone who wants to register as a volunteer.

There are many benefits from helping others, says Julie.

It can be a route into paid work or just to improve job prospects. It can also provide a taster for a potential career change.

Julie added: “We get feedback from people who say they thoroughly enjoy it, and it is their reason for getting up in a morning. They say it gives them a sense of purpose.”

Those who do come forward could find themselves helping groups ranging from children to ex-offenders, lone parents to those experiencing substance misuse or abuse. It could also mean helping people with mental health issues, physical disabilities, learning difficulties and learning disabilities.

Other fields which are open to volunteers include work in counselling, conservation, forestry, fundraising; publicity and media; music recording and broadcasting; DIY; driving; and social care.

HVDA offers a number of ways for people to come forward.

It was thanks to HVDA that volunteers were found for a scheme called the National Citizens Service. Hartlepool is one of 12 areas piloting the scheme, and the volunteers for it were found after an appeal in the Mail by HVDA volunteer development officer Melanie Clark.

In another scheme, HVDA life and career coach Sandy Taylor led a call to find people aged 16 to 19 to sign up for confidence-boosting courses which would help them get the most out of their lives.

Both were proof that coming forward works. It could for you

To find out more, pop along to one of the open days or, if Wednesdays are not suitable, contact 01429 262641 to book an appointment or for an informal chat.