We hosted a special event in the council chamber last Thursday to thank more than 350 residents who have given something back to the community as part of its volunteer scheme.
Our volunteer programme was launched a year ago to help local people gain valuable experience while giving something back to their community.
In the first year, volunteers have undertaken a number of roles in a wide range of areas and departments at the Council and its partners, including event management, community centre activities, working with vulnerable adults and promoting initiatives to improve local communities.
Volunteers have also been working together on large projects such as the 130 people who committed over 1,200 volunteering hours to ensure the smooth running of the Love Luton 2012 Festival, and the volunteer ‘health champions’, who have been providing important health advice and information to Luton residents.
In addition to the valuable experience and practical skills gained, more than 50 volunteers have received formal qualifications such as NVQs and specialist training to help them increase their chances of securing work in the future.
Part of the celebration event was devoted to the young volunteers who participated in the National Citizen Service, an ambitious Government programme to develop the skills and potential of teenagers, in particular 16 year olds. The young people were recognised for their hard work on two social action projects – creating a new community garden based at Futures House in Marsh Farm and painting a community play area next to Farley Community Centre.
The event also saw recognition for the local businesses who have contributed to the scheme, including Thomson Airways and McDonalds, whose staff voluntarily gave up their time to take part in two local environmental projects.
As part of the evening Cllr Sheila Roden, Portfolio Holder for community development, along with corporate directors Pam Garraway and Colin Chick, handed our certificates to the volunteers in attendance.
Cllr Roden said: “Our brilliant volunteers offer skills, knowledge and experience to support services that improve the quality of life for Luton residents. It was great to meet so many of them at the celebration event as it was important to thank them for the huge contribution they have made to Luton’s communities.
“I am proud that we have so many dedicated and committed people in our town, reflecting a variety of backgrounds and skills. The scheme has been such a success and exceeded all of our expectations in its first year. I look forward to expanding it further in the months and years to come.”
There are many volunteering opportunities still available and we are looking for more people to join the scheme.
Cllr Roden added: “Becoming a volunteer is a great way to gain new skills and meet new people. Whether you are looking to improve your employment prospects or just want to help out in the community, volunteering can help you.”
For further details on volunteering opportunities, or to request an information pack, please call 01582 54 87 72 or email email@example.com