As Christmas approaches, it is often referred to as the Season of Good Will.
For many people the season of good will is a twelve month long season. It is to these people that I would like to pay tribute. They are otherwise known as volunteers.
The voluntary sector is very active and vibrant, and it often goes unseen by many. Volunteers undertake such valuable work and they give their time and energy in such a selfless manner to assist others.
I wonder how thankful the government must be that is doesn’t have to pay for our volunteers. Susan Swinburn from South Lincolnshire Blind Society informs me that when she was the chief executive of the Volunteer Bureau a mapping exercise was undertaken back in 2006 and it was estimated that if we were to pay for our volunteers it would cost £13 million per annum in South Kesteven alone.
The national cost today will be immense.
I very much admire people who show community pride in our town and who want to improve our environment, not just to attract visitors but to create a nice place to live. Volunteers have helped brilliantly with cleaning up graffiti and also the canal, which is sadly a never ending job.
Last year as the mayor I had the pleasure of meeting Darren Abbot and his volunteer crew who spruced up our white bridge in Wyndham Park, kindly sponsored by Moy Park.
The local scouts and guides and our cadet forces are a great example of youngsters helping out in our community. Their staff contribute greatly to an educational aspect. Youth workers do a wonderful job, and a mention here for the Gravity FM youth project. Gravity FM is run by volunteers, providing entertainment, information and a service for our local charities and good causes.
For the good citizens who volunteer in the many sectors of volunteering there is a great sense of job satisfaction and ownership in the community. Many superb volunteers assist carers in the community, but how would we manage without our volunteers, well I really do not know.
Many organisations can not manage without the support of their volunteers and they are always looking for new volunteers, even if it’s for just a few hours to spare each month.
South Lincolnshire Blind Society are just one example. If all organisations had to fend for themselves then it would be a step back into the dark ages.
So let’s hear it for ALL our volunteers, three cheers. I wish everybody, especially all of our volunteers, the very best season’s greetings.