This morning the following blog appears in the Argus as the Opinion piece on page 10 – its my attempt to acknowledge the enormous contribution that volunteers make to ensure our society is able to function as well as it does.
Most charities come under intense pressure at this time of year as we all face cold and wet weather and low sunlight levels and the TV and all other media is presenting the signs of happiness as being related to having large feasts in our homes surrounded by lots of relatives. One of the charities that I have had the privilege to have been involved in over many years, FareShare has had a great year having delivered over 400 tonnes of food to other charities, ensuring that food which would otherwise have been wasted was used well. They like many other charities rely extensively on volunteers to carry out their vital work and although FareShare will not be open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, other charities will be, cooking food for people who would otherwise be alone and providing social contact. The value that volunteers in all of these charities provide to our communities cannot be easily quantified. Although FareShare does not cook a single meal, the food they supply throughout the year will have fed 1000’s of people who would otherwise have gone hungry or had a very poor diet. As the impact of cuts to public services and funding for many charities bites deep, the role of these volunteers and the work they carry out becomes even more vital. It is sometimes hard to find a meaningful way of thanking all the people involved and many acts of kindness go unnoticed by most of us. I hope that all the readers of this paper have a great Christmas, and to all those who volunteer to help others, thankyou.