Celebrating our Volunteers | Volunteers' Week 2021

posted Wed 02 June 2021

News Story

The challenge and uncertainty of the past year has seen a growing need for help in our community. We have been fortunate to receive the support of volunteers not only within the building, but also in the projects launched as a result of the pandemic. We've asked volunteers from across the community including from the Covid Helpline, Museum of Farnham and Farnham Neighbours' Network, about why they volunteer and the difference it has made within the last 12 months.

Thank you to all those who continue to volunteer with us!

Logo for Volunteers Week 2021
Sue Keogh
Volunteer for Covid Helpline and Vaccination Programme

I have been lucky enough to be involved as a volunteer in two fantastic projects over the last eighteen months: firstly the Farnham Coronavirus Helpline and more recently the Farnham vaccination programme.

I helped to set up and organise the Helpline during the first lockdown and really enjoyed working with so many people who wanted to help their local community and support those who were vulnerable or shielding. Thanks to these volunteers we were able to respond to over 1800 service requests from March 2020 to the end of July 2020.

Volunteer Sue wearing a hi-vis jacket in the lobby of Farnham Hospital

From December, I have been helping to organise the volunteer marshals at Farnham Hospital supporting the vaccination programme. Once again, we have an amazing team of local volunteers who never cease to amaze me with their enthusiasm and commitment. Together we have helped the vaccinators deliver over 40,000 jabs!

It has been such a positive experience working on both these initiatives: they have kept me busy during the pandemic when most of my work and other activities had stopped and have helped me to feel even more a part of my community.

Marion Nicholson
Farnham Maltings Volunteer

I became a volunteer at the Maltings soon after we moved to the area from North East England as a way of meeting and getting to know people in the local area and also as I have great respect for the Maltings ethos of bringing the Arts to Farnham and the local area.

Stewarding events at the Maltings gives me the chance to meet a variety of people both other volunteers and the audiences who attend the films and festivals held by the Maltings. I am a keen crafter and the Maltings has given me the chance to share my skills (such as knitting, crochet and others) with a wide range of people and, thanks to the Maltings in a safe environment, where they can learn new skills.

Being a volunteer has helped me personally by raising my self esteem and I am very grateful. As volunteers we know the staff are very appreciative of the work we do and I am glad to be a volunteer.

Woman holding cup of coffee smiling at event stall
Gill Picken
Volunteer for the Museum of Farnham

When I retired from Aldershot public library in 2004 I decided that although I was happy to be a volunteer I didn’t want to volunteer in libraries. I have always had an interest in local history. I was born in Aldershot, brought up in Tongham, went to school in Farnham and have always lived and worked locally so Farnham Museum seemed a logical place to volunteer.

I started at Farnham Museum in around 2006 and I love the job. I can use my local knowledge as museum front of house is very similar to library work and I enjoy meeting and helping people. The icing on the cake though, is that I feel I am better treated and more appreciated than I was when I was in paid employment with Hampshire libraries!

Head shot of a smiling woman, wearing pink jacket and dangling earrings
Kay Foster
Farnham Maltings Volunteer

I have been coming to the Maltings so regularly for years that it feels a bit like a second home! Films, comedy, music, trapeze lessons, workshops, markets, gin festival, giving blood - the list is endless. I feel very lucky to have such a great venue within walking distance, and it has given me the chance to try out or attend so many things.

I am delighted to be able to give some of that back by volunteering as a steward. I had considered it before, but never got around to it until post lockdown last year when I realised how much I had missed being there. Vic and the team have been incredibly welcoming and supportive, and I have met many lovely people. I have enjoyed events that I would have not seen otherwise, and I love being able to share my enthusiasm with others and help them make the most of their visit. I also like being able to see behind the scenes of events, so stewarding is an ideal opportunity for that.

Headshot of a blonde smiling woman wearing black and white printed blouse
Daryl Bunner
Volunteer for Farnham Neighbours' Network

I was furloughed during the first lockdown and whilst I enjoyed the initial time at home, I found I missed people, chatting and had no real purpose day to day. I had recently changed my career from travelling across the UK, to spend more time at home and had resolved to get work more locally in my community. I had already signed up to the Nextdoor App to see what was going on in my neighbourhood and put my name forward to local support groups that were set up. When the FNN was launched formally, I knew I could use the skills I had in my working life as a management development/ customer service facilitator and coach - alongside my love of a cuppa and chat – I could listen, talk, support, encourage and laugh!

Smiling Woman wearing pink-checked shirt and glasses in a woodland

I have got to know another great human being, discussing life’s ups and listening and supporting where I can, on her significant downs. As lockdown eases we have now met, had tea and cake, been out for a walk, texted and chatted regularly; we have actually connected – we are becoming friends. I have found that being there when someone doesn’t really have relatives or local friends, I feel of value. I know I make a difference to her, when she says thank you and is grateful for my time, it boosts my self-esteem getting that recognition and helps me with my sense of purpose.