More than 4,300 volunteers helping Worcestershire County Council out

Worcester News: County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council County Hall, the HQ of Worcestershire County Council

MORE than 4,000 people now volunteer across Worcestershire - with a new website being launched to encourage even more to sign up.

The cash-strapped county council is facing unprecedented financial pressure and wants volunteers to fill any voids left by the reductions in funding.

It has now launched a website called 'Act Local' which aims to tap into people's consciences and get them on board.

The council currently has 4,304 volunteers including 406 in libraries, 578 in countryside services like parks, 250 in transport, 218 in care and 2,840 in museums and heritage.

Now it wants more - saying volunteers will play an ever-growing role across Worcestershire in the coming years.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson, cabinet member for localism and communities, said: "We absolutely rely on these volunteers and the need for them is increasing.

"Getting more volunteers on board will actually help us to really focus even more on the jobs we want to do ourselves."

A launch event took place at County Hall last week where voluntary organisations manned stalls to publicise their work.

It included the West Mercia Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre, which has a team of volunteers staffing counselling hotlines in Worcester and Hereford.

Volunteer Elisa Martin, from Hanbury near Droitwich, said: "I've been volunteering at the centre for four-and-a-half years and I love it.

"It's a way of life - I will never stop volunteering, it means you can give something back."

Becky Weir, counselling manager for the Worcester branch of the centre, said: "Our hotlines are staffed purely by volunteers - they are absolutely vital to us.

"We've also got a team of counselling volunteers.

"Some of them have been with us for more than 10 years, we are proud of our retention rate."

A new video has been produced for the Act Local website featuring Worcester Warriors star Jake Abbott.

The county council say they have a £750,000 fund called 'changing futures' which aims to help voluntary groups expand.

There is still around £300,000 left, with the successful bidders able to get help in areas like marketing or fundraising from experts.

Suzy James, the council's chief co-ordinator for volunteers, said: "Across the whole county the value of volunteering is now £812 million - it's so important."

By 2018 the council is looking to hand 85 per cent its services to new providers, shedding 1,500 in-house jobs.

To see the new Act Local website visit worcestershire.gov.uk/cms/act-local.aspx

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

1:42pm Mon 9 Jun 14

CJH says...

And what would happen if they all stopped volunteering?
And what would happen if they all stopped volunteering? CJH
  • Score: 3

4:46pm Mon 9 Jun 14

New Kid on the Block says...

Places like St Richards can always use more volunteers so if you have a bit of spare time why not give it a go?
Places like St Richards can always use more volunteers so if you have a bit of spare time why not give it a go? New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 3

5:52pm Mon 9 Jun 14

BC10ax says...

It's great that people are doing this, but I hope the volunteers and properly trained and supervised.

And I'm slightly uncomfortable with the idea that our taxes are being used to pay the very high perks and salaries of those at the top of local government, while services are provided cost-free by generous volunteers.
It's great that people are doing this, but I hope the volunteers and properly trained and supervised. And I'm slightly uncomfortable with the idea that our taxes are being used to pay the very high perks and salaries of those at the top of local government, while services are provided cost-free by generous volunteers. BC10ax
  • Score: 8

10:09am Tue 10 Jun 14

js says...

Upton in Bloom volunteers applied (starting early last week) to close off some parking spaces for a few hours in Lower High Street, Upton upon Severn to facilitate parking for judges and stall holders vehicles & a traction engine. The application went to various offices at MHDC & WCC. Finally received a reply from WCC: "If we agreed to the request there is insufficient time for the Order to be made for 10th July. There would also be a charge of £1325 and you would have to arrange for the signing and barriering off of the parking spaces."

Cheaper to pay parking fines!
Upton in Bloom volunteers applied (starting early last week) to close off some parking spaces for a few hours in Lower High Street, Upton upon Severn to facilitate parking for judges and stall holders vehicles & a traction engine. The application went to various offices at MHDC & WCC. Finally received a reply from WCC: "If we agreed to the request there is insufficient time for the Order to be made for 10th July. There would also be a charge of £1325 and you would have to arrange for the signing and barriering off of the parking spaces." Cheaper to pay parking fines! js
  • Score: 1

10:15am Tue 10 Jun 14

js says...

And we volunteered to help with the flower beds outside the Library!
And we volunteered to help with the flower beds outside the Library! js
  • Score: 0

1:04pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Anthony Green says...

We pay taxes to provide services.
Now the Council sack workers and engage "volunteers", working for no reward.
This is not progress or organisation.
We need to pay workers to earn a living and then pay taxes, generating success.

Perhaps we shoudl sack some of the bosses and replace them with "volunteers"
We pay taxes to provide services. Now the Council sack workers and engage "volunteers", working for no reward. This is not progress or organisation. We need to pay workers to earn a living and then pay taxes, generating success. Perhaps we shoudl sack some of the bosses and replace them with "volunteers" Anthony Green
  • Score: 1

10:45pm Tue 10 Jun 14

Jabbadad says...

And with the County Council greeting volunteers with open arms they have also been cutting by as much as 85% the small ammounts of genuine expeneses for helping these volunteers to operate.
It is nationally recognised that for every £10 invested in voluntary work you reap £100 worth of input back.
And soon there will be a further 1,500 potential free volunteers from those that this CONservative County Council is throwing out of a job in it's slash & burn policies.or TORY PRIVATISATION.
And with the County Council greeting volunteers with open arms they have also been cutting by as much as 85% the small ammounts of genuine expeneses for helping these volunteers to operate. It is nationally recognised that for every £10 invested in voluntary work you reap £100 worth of input back. And soon there will be a further 1,500 potential free volunteers from those that this CONservative County Council is throwing out of a job in it's slash & burn policies.or TORY PRIVATISATION. Jabbadad
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree