Volunteering always plays a key part in our communities and during Volunteers’ Week we wanted to highlight some of our colleagues who volunteer their time in different capacities supporting charities across the region.
| Volunteering as an appropriate adult
She comments: “I work closely with the Police, mental health services and social services. I provide support to young people (under the age of 18 years old) and vulnerable adults while they are in police custody and put support mechanisms in place for when they go back into the community based on what they need.
I enjoy working with young people and vulnerable adults to ensure they are getting the support they need to prevent them being in the same situations again as well as giving back to the community as a whole, the sense of accomplishment you feel when you are able to help those that need it the most is not something I am able to describe.”
| Mental health champion
Alex Newman, Risk and Compliance Manager is a Trustee for The Anthony Seddon Fund, a mental health charity set up in memory of Alex’s younger brother, Anthony, who died by suicide in 2013.
Alex says: “Whilst I don’t have as much time to dedicate to the charity as I’d like, without volunteers, the charity would not exist. These volunteers give their own time to help provide a safe space and peer support when it is needed most. By giving a few hours each week, they are quite literally saving lives. I am in awe of their selfless support.
If you can spare a few hours a month to support a local charity in whatever way you can, I’d urge you to do it.”
| The Boys’ Brigade
Gemma Horner, Dispute Resolution Solicitor is an officer in the Boys’ Brigade and is in charge of the junior section. She is also the vice chairperson of the junior section for all companies across the Halifax area and sits on the executive committee.
Gemma said: “I was influenced to become involved through my parents – my dad is the company captain at my Boys’ Brigade company having attended as a child and progressed to become an officer and my mum was in the Girls’ Brigade as a child and also as an officer.
In addition to my role in the Boys’ Brigade I am also an officer in the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade band. Again, I joined as a teenager and participated in parades and competitions around the country. After university, I re-joined to give the young people of Halifax an opportunity to learn a musical instrument (we have brass and percussion), learn how to march and put on a musical and visual display, develop confidence in themselves as musicians and artists and also interacting with fellow players and judges.
The band is due to take part in the Halifax charity gala on 10 June 2023 representing the Boys’ Brigade and helping to raise funds so the Boys’ Brigade can continue to provide training, put on competitions, and have a positive influence on the young people of Halifax during the forthcoming year.”
| Project Youth Cancer
Sinéad Sopala, Head of Strategy and Business Development is a Corporate Ambassador at Project Youth Cancer. She added: “Volunteering and giving back is such an important thing to do. Connecting, supporting, and giving your time can help a charity in so many ways. At Levi’s we also encourage staff to get involved in their communities with paid volunteering days off… it all makes a difference.”
| Canal & River Trust’s Leeds Towpath Taskforce
On the last Friday of each month Alison Absolon volunteers with the Canal & River Trust’s Leeds Towpath Taskforce Tasks are varied, some are seasonal (eg Balsam bashing) or all year (litter picks). The Towpath Taskforce have taken over responsibility for looking after the recently opened Whitehall Road Riverside Pocket Park which is located between the canal and River Aire by Whitehall Road.
She said: “Apart from giving something back, as a volunteer you are also benefitting both physically and mentally – outdoors in the fresh air, connecting with nature, seeing the wildlife, exercise, learning new skills, meeting new people and making new friends.”
Alison also volunteers with Litter Free Leeds… “on the Fridays when I am not volunteering with the CRT I usually do a couple of hours litter pick around my local area. Apart from keeping the area litter free, it keeps you fit, and you are out in the fresh air”.
Thank you to all those volunteers making a difference in all our communities.