Feature: Could you make a difference by volunteering?

The Evergreen team at Stamford Hospital. Rosie Maclennan, Jenny Moulds, Becky Linnell, Kirsty Robson, Louise Marsh and Laura Ragdale EMN-160601-153758009

The Evergreen team at Stamford Hospital. Rosie Maclennan, Jenny Moulds, Becky Linnell, Kirsty Robson, Louise Marsh and Laura Ragdale EMN-160601-153758009

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Groups that do good work every day across the area are appealing to Mercury readers to do something remarkable themselves during 2016 and volunteer.

Evergreen Care Trust offers some incredible volunteering opportunities. They currently look after 600 vulnerable members across Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings, providing a range of services including befriending, a hospital to home provision, home support, communal lunches, hot and wholesome soup, advocacy and a clean team service. Its newest service, which has been recently launched in partnership with New College Stamford, is Evegreen’s hand and nail pamper treatments.

WO2 Steve Whitby, Tricia Lipton, Rev Andy Fyall and George Hetherington EMN-151218-134831001

WO2 Steve Whitby, Tricia Lipton, Rev Andy Fyall and George Hetherington EMN-151218-134831001

The majority of these services are free of charge and could not operate without Evergreen’s amazing team of volunteers.

Volunteer and marketing coordinator for Evergreen Rosie Maclennan said: “ It’s difficult to sum up the numerous benefits of volunteering for Evergreen because there are so many. We have a wonderful team of volunteers, all of whom have benefited in different ways and given our members invaluable support.

“Volunteering is great for mind and soul, it genuinely makes you feel good, and it’s a fantastic way to meet new friends, increase skills, learn more and be part of a dynamic, fun and friendly team.”

Evergreen is growing from strength-to-strength and now, more than ever, needs the support of willing volunteers to help meet the increasing needs of vulnerable and elderly residents.

Margaret Jones, a retail volunteer at Thorpe Hall EMN-160801-123652001

Margaret Jones, a retail volunteer at Thorpe Hall EMN-160801-123652001

Volunteering at Evergreen is diverse and very rewarding and with its range of services, can offer something for everyone.

Evergreen meet informally every first Thursday of the month in the Cosy Club, Stamford between 6pm and 7.30pm. All teas, coffees and soft drinks are free of charge thanks to the generosity of the Cosy Club. This is a great chance to meet volunteers and the staff of Evergreen to find out more about how you can get involved. The next meeting is on February 4.

Evergreen Care Trust will also be exhibiting at a showcase volunteer event in St George’s Church, Stamford, which is on Saturday, February 6, from 10am to midday.

If you can’t make either event and want to find out more visit www.evergreencare.org.uk.

○ Recently-formed Stamford cafe Second Helpings has already served up more than 500 meals, using 1.5 tonnes of food that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

The cafe, based at Trinity Methodist Church in Barn Hill, serves meals on a pay as you feel basis, not only helping those who are homeless or who can’t afford to pay that much, but also helping those who dislike waste. All are welcome at the cafe which opens on Saturdays from 11am until 3pm with the aim to feed people, not bins.

But Second Helpings, which also runs a Food Boutique, needs the help of more volunteers if it is to continue to grow, particularly experienced cooks able to take a turn on the rota perhaps on a monthly basis.

Negotiations are underway with two supermarkets to donate their ‘waste’ to Second Helpings.

This will mean a greater need for volunteers to collect the food, weigh, record and store. This is normally done on Fridays but can be amended if suitable.

George Hetherington, who helped to found the project, said: “Without the support of folk in this area there is a danger that Second Helpings will not be able to cope with the volume of food it is able to collect.

“Hate waste? Then eat at Second Helpings, take food that you need from the Food Boutique, spread the word and volunteer.”

To find out more about getting involved call George on 07891 437914 or e-mail georgehetherington2@gmail.com. You can also search on Facebook for Second Helpings Stamford.

○ For the volunteers at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough, lending a hand does not just help the hospice, it helps them as well.

Margaret Jones, 71, started volunteering there following the death of her husband Patrick.

Margaret, who worked as a nurse before retiring, now volunteers four days a week and is involved in every aspect of the hospice’s shop - from merchandising to serving customers and sorting through donated stock.

She said: “Coming here filled a gap in my life which I didn’t realise was there. When I wake up I have something to look forward to. I’ve met so many lovely people and even made friends.”

Margaret is one of about 300 volunteers at Thorpe Hall Hospice. Their work is worth £390,000 to the charity every year.

People volunteer for many different reasons; to fill a gap, to make new friends, to gain in confidence or to feel worthwhile. Others find it a stepping stone to getting back into work after a period of absence, a useful addition to their CV or a way of brushing up on skills. The team at Thorpe Hall work with new volunteers to identify how best they can use their skills.

To find out more about volunteering at Thorpe Hall call 01733 225900 or e-mail thorpehall@sueryder.org.

Or if you’re looking for something a little unusual, Nene Valley Railway is holding a volunteer open day from 10am on Saturday, March 5, for people to find out more about how they can get involved.