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Volunteers who work with children awarded at charity event

Group photo of Barnardo’s volunteers and staff at award event

[V]olunteers who work with children in Cumbria have been awarded for their achievements and long service at a charity event.

More than 25 volunteers working with children and families at Barnardo’s children’s centres across the county were joined by staff to attend the celebratory event at Lingholm Estate in Keswick on Friday 13 July 2018.

The volunteers all work in roles directly supporting families in Cumbria, ranging from health champions and children’s activity workers to drivers, who assist families that may be struggling to travel to appointments.

L-R: Volunteers Robert and Anne Summers, Janet Simpson and Sandra Denwood

For the last six years, a group of volunteers for Barnardo’s in Carlisle have run classes each week at Brook Street School to teach English as a second language to adults from a range of different nationalities living in and around the town. The long service of some of these volunteers was awarded at Friday’s event, including (image attached of group) Anne Summers (six years), Robert Summers (six years), Sandra Denwood (two years) and Janet Simpson (two years). The group were also awarded the national Marsh Trust Award for Equality and Diversity for their volunteering services in 2017.

Speaking on behalf of the group, volunteer Anne Summers said: “It started from just a love of teaching, but now our volunteering work has grown into so much more than that. The classes have developed into a social hub with a friendly atmosphere, where people can enjoy a coffee and a chat, as well as come to learn English in their lessons each week.”

Christine Macdonald from Allerdale was another volunteer celebrated at the event for her services over the last two years, for her role working with children aged between 7 and 15 who are referred to Barnardo’s. Christine works in a specialist volunteering role in risk and resilience to carry out group work, helping children to build confidence, establish boundaries and with a range of other issues. Christine also volunteers at children’s forest school groups and helps to transport families to support groups and mother and baby classes.

Jacquie Baccar, Barnardo’s Volunteer Co-ordinator for Cumbria said: “It was great to be able to celebrate the contribution that our volunteers in Cumbria make for us by giving up their free time, and to recognise the impact they have on the lives of so many children and families across Cumbria.

“Barnardo’s could not operate without the support of our volunteers and we are extremely grateful for the dedication they give to us, no matter how big or small. Barnardo’s provides full training and support for all those who volunteer with us and we have a large number of roles available, including some specialised roles, with our early help and outreach teams at our children’s centres across Cumbria.

“I would encourage anyone who is interested in gaining experience in working with children to visit our website to see what roles are available in their area. No formal qualifications are required, but roles could lead to future employment opportunities, or simply act as a rewarding way to meet new people and spend free time.”

Volunteering roles currently available with Barnardo’s include breastfeeding support volunteers, as well as those to support children’s activity groups and creches, health champions, drivers and family support volunteers, who work directly with vulnerable families to help them access the services and support they need.

Volunteers are usually asked to commit to a minimum of four hours per week, which is normally required to support work between the hours of 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Full training is provided and volunteers are supported and supervised by members of Barnardo’s staff working in the children’s centres.

For further details about volunteering roles and locations available working with Barnardo’s children’s centres and retail shops across Cumbria, please visit http://www.barnardos.org.uk/get_involved/volunteering.htm or call Jacquie Baccar on 01228 593810.

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