So how do volunteers make a difference within our communities?
This last week was Volunteers’ Week, which celebrated the contribution millions of volunteers make every single day across the UK. It takes place every year from 1st – 7th June and is organised by The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland, Volunteer Now (Northern Ireland) and Wales Council for Voluntary Action. So how do volunteers make a difference within our communities?
Well, it’s not an overstatement to say that Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team (CVSRT) wouldn’t exist without them. All our members, whether they are operational team members, trainees, active supporters, dogsbodies or training casualties – everyone volunteers their time freely. They all sacrifice precious time that could be spent with their families and instead they dedicate this time to ensure the smooth running of the team, allowing us to provide a life-saving emergency response service to the community, all in support of the statutory emergency services.
As some of you are aware, CVSRT is a registered charity, which costs approximately £40,000 per year to remain operational – we receive no direct funding from the council or government. This amount is raised entirely through fundraising and donations from the community and local businesses. All donations go directly towards keeping a roof over our base in Mytholmroyd, maintaining our emergency response vehicles, purchasing essential equipment and paying for training to develop specialist skills. None of this would be possible without volunteers.
In the latest Community Life survey (2015-16) commissioned by the Cabinet Office to provide statistics on issues that are key to encouraging social action and empowering communities (including volunteering, charitable giving and community engagement), 47% of people volunteer on a regular basis with 70% of the people partaking in a voluntary capacity during the year. Within the same period, 73% of people gave to a charity regularly, with 68% of people agreeing that their neighbourhood pulls together to improve the area and is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together, which is the highest level recorded (since 2003). The survey concluded by stating that an average of 7.9 out of 10 people felt satisfied with their life – again the highest level recorded since 2012-13.
By volunteering or supporting volunteers, you are allowing organisations like us, to make a real difference within the community. There are many ways to support CVSRT. Perhaps you could volunteer as a dogsbody or training casualty. These roles play an integral part of the teams continued training programme and development as a search and rescue resource. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to assist with our training exercises to make them as life-like as possible (over 18yrs only).
Our members come from all walks of life, professions and backgrounds, all bringing something different to the mix to build a stronger team. The same can be said for the community around us. Perhaps you have a particular skill or professional trade, service or product that you could contribute, like helping with our building or vehicles maintenance, or donating non-perishable supplies that will help fuel the team!
You can make a real difference by joining our Supporters Group and help us plan ahead. Annual joining fees are £12 for individuals, £20 for groups/families and £45 for companies. You will receive invitations to all our social gatherings and fundraising events as well as our quarterly newsletter and annual report. You will also be encouraged to visit The Rescue Post in Mytholmroyd to meet team and search dogs.
Feeling inspired? Get involved and make a difference today, we’d love to hear from you if any of these appeal. Visit: www.cvsrt.org.uk/support-us