Celebrating the work of our volunteers

This week was National Volunteering Week and I am sure you will join me in celebrating the efforts of the thousands of volunteers who give up their time helping others across the county.

Volunteering takes different forms, from parents who run after school clubs to community health support groups who help so many people. Without volunteers many of these organisations wouldn’t be able to achieve as much, so this week is about celebrating their efforts.

Getting involved in volunteering offers different things to different people. For some, this is the opportunity to learn new skills, build confidence and move closer to the jobs market, for others it is a route to improved health, and for many it is the simple pleasure and satisfaction gained from helping others or ‘putting something back’. We all have skills and knowledge that we can pass on that can make a real difference to people’s lives.

Working together with the voluntary sector, local communities and all our partners including the police, health organisations, other councils and businesses is vital in improving people’s lives. As I have said many times before, community plays a big part in Staffordshire life and as a commissioning council, continuing to work in different ways, the voluntary sector and local organisations have a key role to play in delivering services to local people. We know that in many cases other organisations rather than the county council are better placed to meet the needs of our communities and we will support them to deliver the outcomes we want.

Allowing people to make decisions about their own lives is what we want to happen and working together I firmly believe we can achieve this. Remember volunteers are not paid because they are worthless but because they are priceless.

It is also great to see that work has started on our old building at 17 Eastgate Street in Stafford which by August will be turned into a new voluntary and community hub for the county. Not-for-profit organisation VAST will be the anchor tenant at the new site and will provide support and services to the sector. Volunteers are already on site painting and decorating and helping to breathe new life into the building.

Well done also to two of our employees Martin Stanyer and Ryan Mclean and the other musicians who are helping to ensure that Stephen Sutton’s legacy continues by putting together a tribute song featuring Stephen himself. Many congratulations to them on this fantastic tribute and I certainly hope people support the track to raise even more money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The single went live on Itunes on Monday and has already sold more than 20,000 copies. To download the single go to https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/hope-aint-a-bad-thing-single/id885059470?ls=1.

Fingers crossed for a number one in the charts over the weekend.

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