Residents interested in becoming a volunteer are being invited to an event this week.
North Tyneside Voluntary Organisations Development Agency (VODA) is holding a free Volunteer Recruitment Fair on Saturday, at The Forum Shopping Centre, Wallsend, between 10am and 3pm.
The drop-in event will feature information stalls and displays by a number of organisations, including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, RNIB, Active North Tyneside, St Oswald’s, Meadow Well Connected, Healthwatch and Blind Veterans, all of which involve volunteers in their work.
Members of VODA’s team will also be on hand to answer any general queries.
For more information visit www.voda.org.uk or call 0191 643 2626.
Keith Hardy, core services manager at VODA, said: “New Year is a great time to take on a challenge and start a new volunteering role.
“There are lots of misconceptions about being a volunteer. Many people think that volunteering is limited to litter picking or helping out in a charity shop, but there is a huge range of other opportunities in North Tyneside.
“We want to show people that volunteering can take so many different forms and bring about real benefits to those involved.
“Volunteering can increase your skills and employability, improve your health and is a great way to meet new people.
“Whatever your interests and availability, there is a volunteering role to suit you.
“This is a great opportunity to come along and meet some of the organisations that involve volunteers in their work.”
North Tyneside resident Richard Giles has recently found helping others with their online benefit applications a particularly rewarding experience.
Richard volunteers at North Tyneside Citizens’ Advice Bureau as part of VODA’s Social Action In North Tyneside (SAINT) project.
He said: “Having some spare time on my hands and wanting to do something useful, I approached VODA last September to see what they might suggest.
“The wonderful team there directed me to a new VODA initiative working with those applying for Universal Credit and this has proved most rewarding.
“I have found it a real pleasure to be part of the small team who, after basic training and with superb support from VODA, spend one morning a week with people making applications for Universal Credit, some of whom have hit hard times, but many of whom find themselves a little lost in the face of all they are required to do.
“It is a privilege to sit down with them, hear their stories, and lend a helping hand.
“Each week we are able to help people set up their Universal Credit account and arrange their first interview. They are now on their way and that gives a real lift to those of us alongside them.”