Volunteers’ Week takes place every year between 1 and 7 June. It’s a national celebration to say thank you for the fantastic contribution that volunteers make every day across the UK.
Staffordshire Libraries use this as a week when we can invite our volunteers to come together to enjoy tea and cake, so we can say a big thank you and well done for all the time they give us.
It also presented opportunities for the volunteers to meet each other in a more informal atmosphere, it is particularly important as many volunteer on different days and at different times.
We really value the time that our volunteers spend delivering the library service and enhancing the service that we provide, so it’s really important that we recognise this and demonstrate how much we appreciate them.
Library Volunteers are doing an incredible job across the county. It doesn’t take much to say thank you but a few words of praise can really brighten someone’s day!
At Leek Library we are very fortunate that we have some kind neighbours upstairs in the Nicholson Institute. The neighbours are actually the Museum and Art Gallery staff and the Tourist Information Staff. The Museum has a superb set of crockery that they loan to us which is perfect when we are hosting a Thank You event of Afternoon Tea for our volunteers. You can see our IT Buddies Chris and Sheelagh, Gary Hill our Home Reader deliverer and Local Historian and Author, Cath Walton enjoying tea and cake with a relatively new volunteer Molly who is learning the ropes on the Library counter.
On Wednesday 6th June the Cheadle Library Staff, Supervisor Fiona Keane, Operational Manager Farida Mohamedali and myself treated the volunteers to another celebration and invited the Knit and Knatter ladies to join us for some more delicious tea and cake.
The volunteers at Werrington Community Managed Library have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2018.
“I am writing to inform you that Werrington Community Volunteers was nominated for The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2018.This award was created by The Queen in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, recognising excellence in voluntary activities carried out by groups in the community. It is the MBE for volunteer groups”
A Volunteers’ Week coffee morning at Kinver Community Library saw 11 volunteers come together to share experiences and enjoy homemade cakes, alongside a display I created for them. We even managed to fit in a training session in preparation for the Summer Reading Challenge and talk about the new General Data Protection Regulations!
Volunteers had also created their own display to promote an afternoon tea event inviting members of the public to come along to meet the volunteers in the library.
As part of their display, volunteers presented their reasons and benefits of volunteering including:
“I have thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at Kinver Library; meeting new people and helping to provide an important community service”
“Volunteering in the library has transformed my perception of being part of the local community…. Mostly in a good way! And being surrounded by books is bliss”
“After spending many years living between the UK and France we returned permanently last summer. I wanted to integrate into the village. I have always had a love of books so felt volunteering at the library seemed the answer. I have found new friends, learnt some new skills (it’s not all about zapping books in and out!) I am so pleased that I did volunteer; it has given me a real sense of achievement and belonging to something worthwhile”
We also hosted a celebration coffee morning at Perton Library to say a massive ‘Thank you’ to 10 of the volunteers at our County Managed Libraries who generously give their time, energy and expertise. Volunteers from Perton, Codsall and Penkridge came together for a spectacular spread to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity from IT Buddy to Walk Leader to Home Reader.
Our volunteers become an integral part of our library teams, make a great difference to our organisation, adding value to our library offer by delivering enhanced services and are a great example of people helping people
It was really great to organise these events to show how valued our volunteers are and to formally thank everyone for their continued support, commitment and enthusiasm.
We hosted recognition events at Holmcroft and Baswich Community Managed Libraries, as well as at Stafford Library for our volunteers in our County Managed Libraries. Our volunteers often only see the other volunteers who they do a session with, so it’s an opportunity for them to meet everyone socially.
Volunteers in our County Managed Libraries do a diverse range of roles, so it was lovely to see representatives from the Code Club, Shelving, Activities and Home Reader volunteers getting to know each other.
Liz Dipple, the Lead Volunteer at Rising Brook Community Managed Library, also featured on Stafford FM, talking about Volunteers’ Week. It was a great way to raise the profile of Community Managed Libraries as a whole and also for saying thank you to the team of volunteers at Rising Brook.
In the last few weeks we have nominated a number of volunteers for awards for their hard work in the libraries.
In the Newcastle Cluster, Ronnie from Talke Library was nominated for the Support Staffordshire Volunteer of the Year Award. At the award ceremony Ronnie received a Commendation, presented by the Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Gill Heesom. It was excellent to see Ronnie receive the praise she deserves, as during her the last 12 months volunteering in the library, she has constantly pushed herself and completed many roles that were originally outside her comfort zone. Everyone at Talke Library was very proud of her!
A number of volunteers were also nominated for the 1000 Lives Community Champion Award and received their awards at the Big Community Conversation 2018, in association with the Centre for Health and Development (CHAD) hosted at Staffordshire University.
The volunteers nominated were
Nominating volunteers for awards in an excellent way for them to be publicly recognised and to raise the profile of the hard work that they do in Staffordshire Libraries.
Library volunteers from Hednesford, Norton Canes and Heath Hayes Community Managed Libraries came together to celebrate.
Staffordshire County Council in partnership with Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust hosted the event held at Hednesford Community Managed Library. It was an important recognition for the time and effort that all the volunteers give so readily in order to support local communities.
Several of the volunteers had baked cakes and a splendid buffet lunch was enjoyed by the 25 volunteers who attended. One of the volunteers said “It makes the team feel more real by putting faces to names that appears on the rota”
In the South East of the county we hosted various events at our libraries where refreshments were on offer, in addition to giving our volunteers and library staff the chance to get to know each other a bit more.
At Tamworth Library we staged a big celebration event where our volunteers from Tamworth, Glascote and Wilnecote Libraries came together to chat and compare notes! They also got to meet lots of the Tamworth Library staff who wanted to say a big thank you for all their efforts. Glascote Library is managed by Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Wilnecote Community Managed Library is managed by The Wilnecote School.
Volunteer celebration events followed at Lichfield and Burton Libraries where volunteers who wouldn’t normally meet were able to talk about their roles and the enjoyment they get from them.
Finally, Library Community Support Officer (CSO) Ian Burley was invited to attend the monthly Volunteers Meeting at Barton Community Managed Library and talk to the volunteers about the great work they are doing there.