Demand for volunteers expected to rise due to budget cuts

PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 November 2017

Doreen Smith, the new chief executive of Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS).

Doreen Smith, the new chief executive of Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS).

Archant

A ‘surge’ in demand for voluntary workers to provide vital community services has been predicted by the new chief executive of Voluntary Action North Somerset (VANS).

Doreen Smith believes volunteers will play a bigger part in helping to run a wide range of services due to funding cuts in the NHS and local authorities.

Mrs Smith is now leading the Weston-based organisation which promotes volunteering and social enterprise for the benefit of the community.

Her plans include linking up with more businesses to show firms how they can help voluntary organisations and running masterclasses so charities can learn from experts.

She is also keen to set up a strategic forum so members of VANS can discuss issues affecting communities and find out how the voluntary sector can help.

She said: “VANS is about community benefit and supporting organisations to run effectively with volunteers.

“Volunteering has been around a long time and I think there’s going to be another surge of interest towards volunteering.

“They can play a key role in providing services when the NHS and councils can’t due to a lack of funding.

“These organisations now have to look creatively and be innovative and that’s why they are looking at the voluntary sector.

“There has already been a lot more interest in what volunteers can provide.”

VANS is working with the clinical commissioning group to ensure the voluntary, community an social enterprise sector is represented in plans for health services across North Somerset.

The group has 177 members and according to the 58 organisations who took part in a recent survey, they benefited from 60,000 volunteer hours per week which saved them £32million a year.

The sector benefits businesses but it is also rewarding for volunteers who gain new skills, experience or a sense of purpose.

Mrs Smith said: “Voluntary organisations often don’t have the funds to be able to pay for a website designer or a graphic designer to produce their report. These are the kinds of things businesses can provide.”

Any businesses interested becoming a memmber of VANS or those keen to learn about volunteering can find out more at www.vansweb.org.uk

More from Weston Mercury

People living in Burnham and Highbridge have decided to adopt a neighbourhood plan, which sets out guidelines for developers submitting planning applications in the area.

Read more

Weston will be full of amazing tastes and flavours again this weekend as a food festival returns to town.

Read more

One of the nation’s biggest boy bands will celebrate 30 years of music making with a landmark UK tour.

Read more

Hornets nearly overcame a 27-point deficit against Thornbury, but in the end finished two points short.

Read more

Winscombe Ladies put in an outstanding display against Totnes, despite slipping to defeat.

Read more

A successive charity rugby match was held between Weston Rugby Club and a combined Bristol and Moseley Old Boys XV.

Read more

Winscombe fought hard to gain a precious home success against visitors Chard.

Read more
37 minutes ago

Volunteer marshals are needed to help support Weston-super-Mare’s Carnival.

Read more

Cheddar moved into the next round of the FA Vase after this excellent victory over Newton Abbot Spurs.

Read more

Worle remain unbeaten in the Somerset Premier League after defeating Nailsea United 4-2.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 11°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists