Volunteers play key role in society

Volunteers play a key role in society.

Thursday, 22nd February 2018, 15:49 pm
Rhona Dunn of Merleygate at Morpeth-first female President of the Rotary Club of Morpeth and is setting up a tree of light. REF 1602154398

They regularly give up their spare time to help those in need – whether it is getting involved in fund-raising activities for groups or charities, or being there to support people.

February 20 to 26 marks national Student Volunteering Week.

And while youngsters are being encouraged to get involved and show their work in communities, older volunteers say there can be a life-long pleasure from helping others.

Rhona Dunn, from Morpeth, is involved in a number of organisations in the town, stepping up her activities after the Morpeth floods in 2008.

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She is involved with Barnabas young people’s charity supporting homeless young people, Contact Morpeth Mental Health Group, supporting refugees through the Sanctuary Network Morpeth, and Morpeth Rotary, where she helps organise the Tree of Light in the town centre every Christmas.

Rhona said: “I think volunteering is not only a bonus to the community, but also helps our health and wellbeing.

“I think it is great if young people volunteer and I do believe a lot do.

“It does not matter what you do as long as it helps somebody.

“I have a very understanding husband who is always there when I need him. I couldn’t do half of what I do without him, you always need somebody.”

Berwick and District Friends of Dementia was formed in 2014 from an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

It is for people with mild to moderate dementia and their carers in and around Berwick.

It’s core activity takes the form of Alz Cafe, which meets every Thursday for social interaction and a wide range of activities.

Volunteers play a large part in the running of the group, which is overseen by a small committee.

Margaret Johnson, a volunteer with the group as her husband suffers from the cruel disease, said: “Funding relies entirely on donations, fund-raising and a small annual fee for committed members.

“Amongst our many and varied activities are therapies, singing, seated exercises, table-top games, indoor curling, boccia, and more. There are also outings on special occasions.”

Berwick Stroke Club is another organisation that could not operate without the dedication and time of its volunteers.

It organises events and trips for its members who have suffered a stroke and a carer, meeting regularly.

The group, which currently has 27 members, raises funds through the year to cover the cost of the trips, including entry fee to any places and transportation.

Joycelyn Lamb, who suffered a stroke herself, said: “People who suffer a stroke go home from hospital and they are isolated.

“This group allows them to get out every now and then, and meet people in a similar position.

“All the members love to get involved.”