Community chiefs in Lancashire and South Cumbria ask residents to step up and volunteer

Volunteer Zee talking to a class

Voluntary, Community, Social, Faith and Enterprise (VCSFE) organisations in Lancashire and South Cumbria have issued a call-to-action asking local people to get volunteering.

Lots of people stepped up to help during the COVID-19 outbreak but as people have gone back to paid work after the various lockdowns, the number of volunteers in the area has hit an all-time low.

The benefits of volunteering include:

  • Feeling valued and appreciated
  • Enhanced wellbeing
  • Increased self-confidence and sense of purpose
  • Being part of a team and meeting new people
  • Learning new skills or developing existing ones
  • Building on career opportunities, which can provide a route to employment
  • Doing something for joy, not just because you’re paid to do it
  • Satisfaction in helping others and knowing you make a difference

Blackburn volunteer Zaynab Jogi, known as Zee, is passionate about offering sports and martial arts training to her community. She said:

“I volunteer for Z’s Defence Academy a newly formed charity which supports women with self-defence training, sporting activities and outdoor pursuits. The aim is to promote independence, confidence, resilience and learn a new skill for the most vulnerable in our community.

“I also give my time to Blackburn with Darwen Sports Council, and I have recently applied to become a governor for a local school in Blackburn. I get great satisfaction from volunteering and helping the younger generation to lead strong, confident and independent lives.

“Giving back to the community is a key aspect in my life and my journey has given me the skill set to support others with volunteering. I have gained confidence throughout my experience to enhance my qualifications and become an instructor. I am the only female civilian Krav Maga instructor in the North West, and I want to teach more women self-defence. Volunteering is fun and a chance to learn new skills as well socializing and become strong individuals.”

“Volunteering gives you a chance to be part of a group, increases self-confidence, combats depression and gain a sense of belonging in the community. It’s a fantastic way to gain experience and develop life skills, which in return supports better employment opportunities and healthier lives.”

Catherine Ainscough from Bamber Bridge volunteered during the COVID-19 outbreak as a vaccination marshal before returning to her paid role as an accounts/sales administration manager.

Catherine said: “Volunteering has given me back my confidence which had disappeared during my time on furlough, I have met people I would never have met in my life before volunteering, which has given me a kinder more understanding attitude to people.”

Jane Scattergood, (Interim) Chief Nurse and Senior Responsible Officer for Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said:

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people felt they could give something back to their community. Volunteers had a sense of purpose during difficult times, they reconnected with their communities, everyone benefitted, and it helped them tremendously. The vaccination programme, for example, drew huge benefits from volunteer support and the volunteers felt useful and valued.

“Times have changed but our community still desperately needs volunteers. Do you have time each week or month where you could volunteer? There are so many different ways to support people in our community and make a huge difference.”

For more information visit Volunteering – NHS Careers NW.