Today is International Volunteer Day 2016. It might seem like there are too many awareness days, however this is one group of people who truly deserves special recognition. Volunteers are the backbone of modern civil society, playing a vital role that others wonâ€™t or are unable to fulfil.Â And maybe, by celebrating their contribution, we hope it will encourage others to step up and give their time to organisations that are desperate for extra helping hands.
Peopleâ€™s reasons for volunteering are about as wide and varied as the type of volunteer roles available across the charity sector. According to the latest UK figures (2014-2015) over 14 million people formally volunteered at least once a month, typically giving over 11 hours in an average four-week period. Itâ€™s also estimated that over 21 million people volunteered at least once across the year.
Volunteers often mention how they love helping to improve the lives of others in their community and that making an impact for the better is something that really motivates them to come forward.
For some, itâ€™s a chance to learn or try something new like a different skill, or they want to use their talent and time in a constructive way for the benefit of others. They can meet new people, make new friends or just enjoy having new experiences whilst getting genuine satisfaction from `doing some goodâ€™.
2016 has been a year like no other and with a backdrop of austerity and belt tightening, charity volunteers are more important than ever before.
Volunteers here at Crimestoppers come from all walks of life. We have many capable older people who want to pull their sleeves up and get stuck in despite enjoying retirement.Â Equally, we have younger people who are keen to take on and develop campaigns that help us boost our engagement and reach. To all of them weâ€™d like to give a round of applause to thank them for everything they do. Today, you can follow the hashtag #GlobalApplause on Twitter.
As we round off 2016, hereâ€™s another occasion for us to celebrate one of our own. Harriette Dottridge is our Volunteer of the Year 2016. Harriette joined Crimestoppers over a decade ago using her positivity and copious amounts of energy. Harriette is an inspiration.
So perhaps with 2017 on the horizon this could be a great time for you to consider doing something new and special. Volunteering for Crimestoppers supports us in our vital work empowering people to protect themselves, helping police tackle crime and making our communities across the UK safer for all.