The Value of The Volunteer

by Imogen Smith

One of the most valuable things in my world is the priceless work of a (Ryedale Special Families) volunteer called Graham. I have known him a long time (too long in some people’s joking eyes!) and he has seen both sides of my life. People like Graham provide incredible work, work that I feel needs to be recognised and celebrated.

Graham does a lot for me every month. Whether it’s a night in with a takeaway, a cinema trip, or a couple of games of pool in Malton, those sessions help me have fun away from the parents. It’s always a good laugh and can especially help if I’m in feeling down or frustrated with my illnesses.

Graham is not the only person giving up their own time to help others. It was reported back in 2016 that an estimated 14.2 Million people also gave up their spare time once a month to formally volunteer across the UK.

That is a massive amount. And so many lives like mine do and will continue to benefit from these wonderful, selfless people. Some of the biggest charities have a great number of volunteers. According to 2017 statistics, The Royal British Legion has 119,000, Age UK has 41,000 and Cancer Research UK is at 40,000. It’s not just charities that rely on volunteers. There are schools, parks, events, hospitals etc that wouldn’t be able to function without volunteers. In North Yorkshire, there are 5,000 volunteer organisations that benefit the county.

Volunteering is an often forgotten part of society: you rarely see it on the news. And when It has been so important to me and millions of others, it’s a shame it isn’t widely reported anywhere, it’s hidden away and never really considered. If I want you to take one thing from this, my latest article, the next time your out and about, in a shop, a cafe or just walking through town, stop and look around at everyone around you: anyone could be a person doing amazing things. Anyone could be a volunteer.

by Charlie Ridgewell

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