This year will mark the Isle of Man’s first ever all Island Volunteers’ Week, which is set to be launched on 1 March. Celebrating and appreciating the work of volunteers has been the aim of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in the UK for 30 years, where Volunteers’ Week takes place annually during the first week in June. Realising the importance of this, the Noble’s Hospital Volunteer Service is spearheading the launch of the first ever Isle of Man Volunteers’ Week during the week of 1 March – 7 March. It is an opportunity to reward and recognise the valuable contribution volunteers make to our community, and to highlight the vital role volunteering plays in Island life.
The Island’s voluntary organisations are encouraged to celebrate Volunteers’ Week by saying ‘Thank You’, to their existing volunteers and encourage other people to sign up to volunteering. To help launch Volunteers’ Week, the Noble’s Hospital Volunteers Service is again organising the Island’s biggest ever volunteer recruitment drive. This year’s theme is based on the popular card game ‘Happy Families’ and the Sefton Group has again kindly agreed to sponsor the event which it is free for the public to attend.
Alison Lester, Noble’s Hospital Volunteer Service Manager, said: “We are working hard to make Volunteers’ Week an annual occurrence on the Island and we would like all voluntary organisations to support this initiative. We are all constantly striving to recruit the right volunteer. The purpose behind organising this event is to ‘match’ the right volunteer to the right organisation. This is a free event for the public. Anyone considering volunteering is invited to come along to the Sefton Hotel Garden room, on Saturday 1 March 10am – 2pm and speak with one of the numerous voluntary organisations taking part and perhaps become a member of a volunteering happy family. I would ask all local organisations that recruit and use volunteers to get in touch as we do have some spaces still available. We have many voluntary groups who have already signed up for this, for example, the Isle of Man branch of the British Lung Foundation and Riding for the Disabled, but the more organisations that become involved the more we can make this year a greater success. I would urge the whole Island to support both the recruitment event and the launch of Volunteers’ Week.
As part of their celebrations for Volunteers’ Week, Noble’s Hospital will be holding a week of ‘Back to the Floor’ sessions for senior management and staff. A thanksgiving service will also be held for all the Noble’s Hospital Volunteers on Wednesday 5 March at 2:30pm in the Hospital Chapel and their week of celebrations will be rounded off with the Noble’s Hospital Annual Volunteer of the Year award and buffet reception.
The Isle of Man Volunteers’ Week logo was designed by Kasia Mirska, a Noble’s Hospital volunteer and accomplished graphic designer. She said: “Nearly everybody I meet on the Island is involved in some kind of charity work or volunteering. I thought designing the logo was a good opportunity to contribute to the community in the way I know best. Personally I volunteer to improve my English and to find out more about local life and to meet people. I think the event is an excellent way for other people, like me, new to the Island, to explore the possibilities of volunteering, as life here is just so different to where I come from, in southern Poland.”
Kate Hutchinson has been involved with volunteering since 2011. She is also helping to organise the recruitment event. Kate commented: “I see the difference made by volunteers every day. Many organisations could not function properly without the help volunteers give. The big event is a chance for organisations to recruit new volunteers, and also make helpful contacts with other organisations. We all have the same goal: to help our community and the people, children and animals in it. This year’s event marks the launch of the first ever Island-wide Volunteers’ Week, which gives organisations a chance to show their volunteers how appreciated they are and say ‘Thank You’! I think that’s something very important and pretty awesome!”