A family charity has welcomed a new team of helpers to its ranks after they successfully completed a volunteering course.
Patch Family Support, in Hartlepool, steered the latest intake of 10 supporters through the NCFE Volunteering in the Community course.
We couldn’t operate without volunteersJan Dobson, Patch Family Support manager
The newly-qualified volunteers will help run Patch’s various groups and activities to support families with young children.
Patch Family Support manager Jan Dobson said: “We couldn’t operate without volunteers. We have between 20 and 30 trained volunteers.
“We have so many family support groups and work individually with families in the home.
“Our remit is for any family with children under 11.
“Volunteering helps them to get work experience and hopefully get into a job.”
The 10-week course covered everything they needed to know to prepare them for working with Patch or any other organisation.
Patch provide it once a year and it included a placement on one of Patch’s family support groups for each student.
Among this year’s intake was young mum Katie Bruce, 23, from Owton Manor, in Hartlepool.
Katie, who has a two-year-old son Bobby, said: “Since having my little boy I thought I might as well utilise my spare time and help people who actually need it.
“The course opened my eyes to a lot of things that Patch offers and see how people are in a lot of different situations.
“I am going to be volunteering for Patch a couple of days every week and I want to raise as much money for them as possible because they’re brilliant.
“I want to thank Jan for giving us this opportunity to help ourselves as well as people who need support.”
The new volunteers are planning a fundraising event over the August Bank Holiday weekend to support families in the home.
It is set to feature live music, raffles, tombolas and an auction. Full details will be released when the date and venue has been finalised.
Looking ahead, Patch, based in Stranton, is running a series of activities in June for grandparents.
They are aimed at anyone who helps look after their grandchildren and start with a creative art session on Thursday, May 28, from 1pm-2.30pm.
Five weekly sessions will then be on Tuesdays, from June 2, from 3.45pm-5pm.