It’s National Volunteers Week 1-7 June and an opportunity to say a big thank you to all the people who volunteer with us. Your help is invaluable!
Jean Freeman, 71, has been volunteering for YMCA Surbiton for six years in the restaurant and is a much loved figure by staff, residents and the public. She previously worked as a catering supervisor for 33 years. So what made Jean take up volunteering? “After I retired, I didn’t want to sit at home. I wanted to give back to the community. YMCA Chaplain Jacky Bone spoke to me at church and suggested that with my experience I should get involved.”
Volunteering in the popular restaurant at YMCA Surbiton means there’s never a dull moment. “Everyone knows me! So I chat to a lot of people as a I go about my work. I run the Community Lunch Club here, there are a lot of older people who come along and they don’t have anyone to talk to.”
Jean’s knowledge and experience means she is an important asset to the kitchen and she advises wherever she can. “I like to plan the menu for the community lunch club with chef Jose, and I talk to people to get their feedback”.
Chef Jose says: “She is a very valuable volunteer here, she gets things going, gets us to try new things.”
We have over 200 experienced volunteers involved across many different areas in the organisation, from photography, filming, recycling, health and wellbeing, marketing, chaplaincy, youth work, housing, human resources to catering and gardening. Without their dedication and commitment it would be a very different Association.
Here are just a few of our great volunteers:
- Total number of volunteers currently stands at 200.
- The volunteering hours average out at 651 hours per week. Or just under 34,000 hours per year.
- One-off project based hours totalled 859 hours. Over 74% of the hours contributed by YMCA residents.
- We provided over 1,300 hours for local education centres (work experience, placements etc.)
- Wide range of ages of volunteers, the highest percentage being 56 years or older
- Youngest volunteer was 14 years old and the oldest 87.