Advertisement
Activism

More than 1200 handwritten thank yous sent to disability charity volunteers

The cards will be delivered as part of Volunteers’ Week which lasts until June 7

Handwritten thank you cards will be delivered to all 1,260 volunteers for learning disability charity Mencap to mark Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7).

People can give as little as an hour a year of their time to the organisation, but many volunteer weekly – and seven people have been helping the charity for more than 20 years.

The charity has grown from just 200 volunteers to more than six times that in the last five years. Many of the volunteers have learning disabilities themselves and benefit from the retail experience of contributing their time in a local Menap charity shop.

Anne-Marie Zaritsky, head of volunteering for Mencap, said the week is an opportunity for them to “say a big thank you to all of [their] inspirational volunteers who are just as passionate about supporting people with a learning disability as [the charity is]”.

She added: “For many of our volunteers, the opportunity to volunteer with Mencap is not only a chance to do something great, but it’s also an opportunity to develop new skills and experiences, as well as make new friends. Volunteering with Mencap can really transform lives.”

There are around 1.4 million people with a learning disability across the UK. Mencap supports them and their families while lobbying for changes in the law and improved services.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Mark Blears has a mild learning disability and started volunteering at Mencap’s Colwyn Bay shop 18 months ago.

He has had the opportunity to go on training courses and make good friends through his work with the charity.

He said he started volunteering because he wanted to help people who shared his experiences. One benefit has been the sense of community, he added, through getting to know regulars and building confidence speaking to members of the public.

Blears added: “I have also been able to make so many friends while doing something I enjoy. We are all good friends but I have a special friendship with a young lad called Sam who has Down’s syndrome. We
get on really, really well. A

“As a team, we are all going to Colwyn Bay beach for a huge BBQ on the beach next week. It will be a great afternoon. Some our customers are even coming along to join us.

“Volunteering with Mencap has been amazing, it really has changed my life.”

The charity welcomes volunteers to a variety of roles, including its Visitor Service, Gig Buddies scheme, hosting fundraising events or campaigning, sharing skills like gardening to help improve the lives of people with learning disabilities, as well as helping in the shops.

Advertisement

Support The Big Issue Winter Appeal

Big Issue vendors can’t work from home and with severe weather warnings on the cards, they face a very tough and uncertain Winter period ahead.

Recommended for you

Read All
UK charities maintained or increased income during pandemic
Activism

UK charities maintained or increased income during pandemic

Meet Ethical Unicorn, the Instagram activist making waves about climate change
Influencers

Meet Ethical Unicorn, the Instagram activist making waves about climate change

'An injustice and an outrage': MPs speak against 'draconian' Borders Bill outside parliament
Borders Bill

'An injustice and an outrage': MPs speak against 'draconian' Borders Bill outside parliament

Climate change, police violence, and benefits: The people taking the government to court
Activism

Climate change, police violence, and benefits: The people taking the government to court

Most Popular

Read All
Government branded 'disgrace' after bid to strengthen Sarah Everard inquiry voted down at 12.30am
1.

Government branded 'disgrace' after bid to strengthen Sarah Everard inquiry voted down at 12.30am

What are the Kill the Bill protests?
2.

What are the Kill the Bill protests?

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'
3.

Rose Ayling-Ellis: 'Suddenly it became quite cool to be deaf'

The Met Police is being sued for not investigating a Downing Street Christmas party
4.

The Met Police is being sued for not investigating a Downing Street Christmas party