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Volunteers' Week June 1 to June 7: How to get involved in volunteering at Evergreen Care Trust in Stamford

Many of us would like to volunteer time and skills to help others, but relatively few take the plunge.

Evergreen Care Trust, a Stamford-based charity which supports people to live independently, is using Volunteers’ Week (June 1 to June 7) to show potential candidates they should take the next step and get involved - and that even those with relatively little time to spare are wanted.

Just one of those people helping to spread the message is Donna Townsend, a graphic designer who found herself on furlough during the pandemic.

Some members of the Evergreen Care Trust team
Some members of the Evergreen Care Trust team

While her skills are not those traditionally associated with supporting older people in their own homes, Donna’s eye for website design and confidence with social media have proved invaluable to Evergreen.

Among the tasks she has taken on is to share different topics on Evergreen’s social media each day of Volunteers’ Week. These topics range from ‘the role of the volunteer’ and ‘how to join Evergreen’, through to ‘the benefits of volunteering’.

They are all things Donna has experience first-hand, having taken the step of getting in touch with the charity, which operates from Shyp House in Barnack Road.

Donna has been made to feel welcome by staff and other volunteers
Donna has been made to feel welcome by staff and other volunteers

“I was furloughed last year and so searched online for ‘volunteer opportunities in Stamford’ and came across Evergreen,” said Donna.

“I contacted them and was made to feel so welcome by the receptionist and other volunteers who, when I visited, all said ‘hello’ as I arrived.”

By meeting Su Fletcher, who leads the volunteer services team, and Julie Mair, Evergreen’s care manager, Donna was able to outline the amount of time she would be able to give to volunteering, as well as the strengths and skills she could offer.

According to Su, it is not a case of looking for one candidate over others - their aim is to accommodate as many people as they can who come forward, and, as she puts it, “to use them - though in the nicest possible way!”

Julie Mair, care manager for Evergreen
Julie Mair, care manager for Evergreen

While some volunteers are suited to roles such as listening and talking to people who would otherwise spend a lot of their time alone, others might offer administration skills to help in the Evergreen office.

By filling out an initial application form, which can be downloaded online at www.evergreencare.org.uk/volunteering-opportunities, volunteers are helped to explore the roles available, as well as being asked to sign up to the core values of the Evergreen Care Trust and its ‘volunteering criteria’ which include being non-judgmental and having ‘healthy regard for older and vulnerable adults’.

“After filling out the application online, I was invited in for a little chat,” said Donna.

Volunteers can help improve quality of life for people in the community
Volunteers can help improve quality of life for people in the community

“There were no pushy or tricky questions. It was mainly about when I could come in and how flexible I could be. It was a simple process.”

Now a part of the Evergreen team, Donna has been impressed by how volunteering has made her feel.

“The best thing about it for me has got to be the team side of things,” she said.

“Much of my role is about getting the Evergreen name out there and making it fun for those involved. There is a lot of positivity which brings everyone together and gives a sense of community.”

Some people would enjoy being a 'befriender' with Evergreen
Some people would enjoy being a 'befriender' with Evergreen

Su is also very positive about what volunteers like Donna can bring to Evergreen.

She said: “Donna has helped to develop a new website for Evergreen and has improved our social media no end. It’s a breath of fresh air and portrays the energy Evergreen has.”

According to Donna, everyone has a skill they could bring to Evergreen and any amount of time they offer can help to improve the lives of other people in the community.

“Even if it is only an hour a week, or two hours a month, people can still help to make a difference,” she said.

To find out about volunteering opportunities visit www.evergreencare.org.uk or call 01780 765900.

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