Volunteer week - celebrating the wonderful contribution of our team of volunteers

 

Ashfield Voluntary Action has a wonderful team of volunteers and they are a massive part of the work we do in the community. Volunteering is an integral part of what we do - half our staff actually first joined AVA as volunteers and all have been involved in volunteering at some point in their lives. Not only is volunteering in our name; it is the very foundation of what we do.

 

Usually at this time of year we hold an award ceremony to thank our volunteers, celebrate their contribution to the community and get together as a team and enjoy spending time together with afternoon tea and free flowing cakes! Unfortunately we are unable to do this because of the Coronavirus pandemic, but we don't want their contribution to go unmarked and are setting up a living wall of volunteers to thank them for their help and celebrate what they do.   

 

 

We have an amazing team of 54 active volunteers including 17 Covid Responders. They undertake all sorts of work in the community and make a massive difference in people's lives.

 

Our fantastic team of volunteers are all different and what they do for the community is incredibly varied. There really is a volunteering opportunity for everyone. The one thing they have in common is their outlook and desire to do something to help others. One of our relatively recent volunteeers, Silvia, has been volunteering with us since the end of March. She is one of our Covid 19 responders and helps with shopping and collecting prescriptions for elderly residents in Kirkby who are isolating due to the virus. Silvia has a family, holds down a full-time job as well as finishing a master’s degree on top of volunteering. Silvia said of volunteering, "I love to keep myself busy and volunteering for you, is a little bit of appreciation for what the elderly people have done for all of us. It’s our turn to help them out, even with little things which often mean the world to them".

 

Over the next week or so we are going to create a living wall of volunteers acknowledging the part they play in supporting local people. Please watch this space as we add to our wall and hopefully we will all be able to get together soon to celebrate the fabulous achievement of our dedicated team of volunteers.  

 

Meet the Team

 

Patrizia runs the Mansfield and Ashfield Emergency Foodbank through St John's in Kirkby Woodhouse with her husband Jac and a team of volunteers and is one of our busiest and most committed volunteers. 

 

Peter is a Trustee at Ashfield Voluntary Action and also shares his vast wealth of commerical experience with St John's in Kirkby Woodhouse helping them to secure funding and develop a robust business plan. 

 

Robina helps to run the highly popular craft group which is part of the Step by Step project at AVA. The group provides a calm and welcoming space and Robina is key in providing excellent one-to-one support for our service users.

 

Len runs Ashfield Community Enterprise at Stanton Hill providing training and work experience opportunities for people. Len has shown immense dedication, is extremely knowledgeable and provides a supportive work environment.

 

Anna is a Covid Responder and already works in the voluntary sector. She has been a great help supporting three ladies who are vulnerable and isolating. Anna is a very caring person and will always go that extra mile, she shops once a week and delivers the groceries to their doors.

 

Jac runs the Mansfield and Ashfield Emergency Foodbank with his wife and a team of volunteers. Jac has a long history in the commercial sector and has brought his knowledge, skills and experience to both the food bank and AVA as he recently joined our Board of Trustees.

 
Sheila is the driving force behind our Twiddle Mitt campaign. Not only was it her idea, she knits them by the dozen, has taught volunteers how to knit and is heavily involved with fundraising. To find out more click HERE  

Ellena is one of our Covid Responders and helps people in the Sutton-in-Ashfield area who are isolating by doing their grocery shopping and collecting prescriptions. Ellena travels far around the area on her bicycle and is always happy to help wherever she is needed.

 
Vik is a local businessman and began supporting Ava's Emergency foodbank in Summer of 2018. He continued to be involved with the Emergency Foodbank when it passed on to St John's and provides a much-needed collection point for food parcels. Thank you Vik.  
Brenda helps to run the Step by Step craft group and has shown utmost dedication and commitment  offering a safe, welcoming and friendly haven. Brenda also works tirelessly to fundraise for the group. To find out more about the Step by Step project click HERE  
Stephen is a regular volunteer at the Health & Wellbeing Centre providing portering services for the Clinics. His cheerful and friendly manner have made him a popular fixture at the Centre and he provides an invaluable service.  

Glenice has two volunteer roles; a telephone befriender for AVA, providing a much-needed lifeline for older people. Glenice also supports the Emergency Foodbank answering calls and taking referrals and is a vital part of the team.

 
Ted has been a volunteer driver for the Radiotherapy Car Scheme for a number of years. Whilst the scheme is not running at present, Ted has always been incredibly helpful and flexible making a real difference to the lives of people undergoing radiotherapy treatment.  
Chelsea is our volunteer receptionist and adminstrator and can always be relied upon to provide a cheerful and welcoming presence. Chelsea has learnt a great deal over the last two years and is a useful and capable part of our team.  

Karen is one of our new Covid Responders and has been volunteering for AVA since April. Karen shops for groceries and collects prescriptions for people across Ashfield and Mansfield. Karen has a lovely manner and is very popular with our service users.

 

Steven's role is varied including meeting and greeting visitors, doing research for us on the internet and working on databases. This vital backroom support makes a huge contribution to the work AVA is able to do in the community.

 
Kath is one of our secret weapons and is always on hand to help us with fundraising events. She has an amazing talent for parting people with their money for a good cause and at 91 is the oldest of our volunteers.   
Phil is our longest serving Trustee having joined AVA in 2004. His former employment as Chief Executive for Ashfield District Council means that he is perfectly placed to be a guiding light for the charity and has helped us to go from strength-to-strength.     

 

Sam volunteers for AVA and helps us mainly with research and admin. He is diligent, hard-working and is always willing to help. He has learnt a lot in the last year and continues to be a valuable asset. Thank for all of your help Sam.   
Linda supports people on a one-to-one basis who want to improve their computer skills or learn how to use the internet safely. Linda is always on hand to give help and advice. Click HERE to find out more about our Access project.   
David is a volunteer for our music group which is part of the Step by Step project. David helps to set up the group and leads the sessions as needed. The music group is one of our most popular sessions and David is a real asset to its success.  
Sarah was the first person who offered us her help during the Covid Crisis, she collects groceries for people who are isolating and cannot get out to shop for themselves. The time she gives is very much appreciated as Sarah also works full-time from home.         
Doreen is another of our fundraising volunteers and helps at events. Doreen is always ready with a smile and always eager to help and is a much valued member of our volunteering team.  

At AVA we offer flexible volunteering opportunities to fit in with people's lives. Elliott made a real difference by giving up his time to help two vulnerable people who are isolating and needed their lawns mowing. Thank you Elliott.

 
Margaret is our Chair of Trustees and has a background of working for Social Services and was also a Senior Lecturer at Derby University. Margaret brings an invaluable perspective to the development and delivery of our services.    
Cheryl is another of our Covid Responders. Cheryl is a lovely caring person. Nothing is too much trouble and she will help at a moments notice. Thank you to a truly valuable volunteer.  
John has been working with us on funding applications and business development and has become an integral part of the team. His background of working in health has been extremely useful and his cheery presence is welcomed by all.   
Tierney started coming to our music and art groups and enjoyed them so much he decided to become a volunteer. He loves being outdoors and now is an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer at our allotment and can be found throwing himself into digging and planting.    
Ethan volunteers for Ashfield Community Enterprise and can turn his hand to many things. He is an absolute stalwart of the project and is probably one of the most hard-working and dedicated of our volunteers acting as Len's right-hand man.  

Jenny helped out early on in the pandemic, but having a job as a carer it became apparent that this was going to take a lot of her time, she is doing an amazing job. As the pandemic eases Jenny has said she will happy to help out more which is very much appreciated.

 

Andrew is our longest standing volunteer having volunteered for us for an amazing 18 years! Andrew is a highly valued member of the team helping to promote volunteering opportunities and carrying out administrative tasks as needed. Thank you for your help Andrew.

 
Ken is the newest of our Trustees. His background in engineering and practical outlook will give valuable insight and balance to our Board of Trustees. We look forward to his input as he helps to steer us to greater success in our role of supporting the community.   

Silvia is a Covid responder and helps with shopping and collecting prescriptions for elderly residents who are isolating due to the virus. Silvia has a family, holds down a full-time job as well as finishing a master’s degree on top of volunteering. What a superstar - thank you Sylvia.

 
Paul volunteers for Ashfield Community Enterprise. Paul is recovering from poor health and has found that volunteering has helped his recovery and helped him to regain his self confidence. Thank you for all of your hard work Paul.  
Karen has been volunteering with AVA since the middle of April for people who are vulnerable and isolating. Karen is their lifeline ensuring she meets their needs, from shopping for groceries to taking letters to the GP surgery and nothing is too much trouble.  

 

Support from Businesses and the Wider Community

 

Whilst we have a team of lovely volunteers, we also would like to thank everyone who helps us to help the wider community of Ashfield. This includes: people who donate books, DVDs and jigsaws for our Lockdown packs, our fantastic team of knitters making Twiddle Mitts and local businesses who have been incredibly supportive.

 

Thank you very much for the support from local businesses:

 

  • Our local Co-operative who are always happy to provide fruit baskets as raffle prizes.  
  • Victoria Road Post office who provide a collection point for food parcels. 
  • Providor, who very kindly allows one of their furloughed staff, Karen, to deliver food parcels and collect prescriptions in one of their company vans.

 

Register as a Volunteer

 

To find out more about volunteering opportunities through AVA or to register your interest in volunteering, please click HERE

 

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