From providing assistance to vulnerable people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic to helping out at popular Gloucestershire attractions as soon as it’s safe to do so, volunteering is a great way to give something back to the local community and help others.
Whether you pledge your time to help during the third national lockdown or make plans to do good when the restrictions are eased, SoGlos has selected 14 places to volunteer in Gloucestershire.
Please note, volunteering is currently allowed under national lockdown rules, with people able to leave their homes to provide voluntary or charitable services, if they cannot reasonably do so from home.
Offering valued support to people who are shielding or self-isolating, Gloucestershire’s NHS Volunteer Responders can help residents within their communities by collecting their shopping, medication and other essentials; checking in with regular friendly phone calls; or giving them lifts to medical appointments.
With all referrals deployed via an app, it’s easy for helpers to manage their tasks and provide much-needed assistance for local people in need – with vacancies for stewards at Covid-19 vaccination sites available, too.
For more information, visit nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk.
Located between Tewkesbury and Evesham, Vale Wildlife Hospital & Rehabilitation Centre offers volunteering opportunities for those with an enthusiastic love of animals – from clearing out and feeding patients to maintaining outside enclosures, with volunteer vets also welcomed.
Although vacancies are currently limited due to Covid-19, the hospital is on the hunt for reliable volunteers to help staff its new charity shop in Tewkesbury, which plans to open in 2021.
For more information, visit valewildlife.org.uk.
Gloucester-based charity, The Family Haven, provides support to help disadvantaged and vulnerable families across Gloucestershire. With a day centre for parents and pre-school children; provision of hot meals for parents, carers and little ones; parenting classes and healthy eating workshops; and an Outstanding-rated OFSTED nursery.
Volunteers can help in the nursery and kitchen, while there are also opportunities to get involved with fundraising activities. Those keen to help can also donate clothing, linen, food, and money, which can go towards equipment, supplies and more.
For more information, call The Family Haven on (01452) 422971.
Throw yourself into the excitement of a Cheltenham Festival by volunteering at one of its prestigious events. With four festivals, spanning Jazz, Science, Music and Literature across the year, volunteering to help with Cheltenham’s staple events is a fantastic opportunity to gain a behind-the-scenes insight.
A variety of positions are available from site preparation to front of house, where you’ll be working alongside like-minded and warm people aiming to make the festival as successful as possible.
For more information, visit cheltenhamfestivals.com.
Tirelessly working to support people who are living with terminal illnesses, neurological conditions or struggling with bereavement, Sue Ryder runs Gloucestershire’s only palliative care unit, Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice.
From assisting at the hospice, tending to its gardens, befriending its residents or providing administrative support, to helping out in its charity shops across the county, there’s plenty for volunteers to get stuck into. While the charity is currently unable to offer voluntary positions due to national lockdown restrictions, those who want to lend a hand in the future can register their interest online.
For more information, visit sueryder.org.
Steam train enthusiasts will relish the chance to volunteer with
Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, which relies exclusively on volunteers to keep the visitor attraction operational.
After registering as a Member of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, volunteers aged 16 and over can expect to undertake a range of jobs, with roles including maintenance, restoration, office administration, shop staff and more.
Please note, GWSR is temporarily closed due to current national lockdown restrictions.
Whether you want to gain work experience or give something back to the community, Gloucestershire Constabulary has a range of volunteering options, with full support and training given.
Those wanting to help make the county’s streets safer can offer a minimum of 16 hours per month to work as a Special Constable, or apply to become a Police Support Volunteer (PSV).
For more information, visit gloucestershire.police.uk.
National Star’s mission is to help young people with disabilities realise their full potential through personalised learning, with a strong emphasis on sports, the performing arts, communication skills and creativity.
Volunteers are key to helping National Star deliver its services, with opportunities available across its fundraising and charity retail teams.
For more information, call National Star on (01242) 527631.
The Cinnamon Trust is a specialist charity which helps elderly and terminally ill people to care for their beloved pets, with a national network of volunteers on hand to provide practical assistance and support at difficult times.
From becoming a regular dog walker for a housebound owner, to fostering an animal if their paw-rent ends up in hospital, there are plenty of ways to help local pet owners feel at ease by looking out for their furry friends.
For more information, call The Cinnamon Trust on (01736) 757900.
Bird lovers will be in their element when volunteering at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, home to the world’s largest collection of swans, geese, and ducks.
Although the centre is currently closed, regular voluntary opportunities include working as a welcome host, inspiring visitors as a discovery guide, building dens to encourage family engagement and providing retail support in the on-site shop.
For more information, visit wwt.org.uk/slimbridge.
The Canal & River Trust cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, from improving towpaths for cyclists to creating new wildlife habitats.
It relies on the efforts of thousands of volunteers and has a host of Gloucestershire-based opportunities available, whether you want to be an ambassador for Gloucester Docks or working as a ranger on the Sharpness Canal. Please note, current volunteering activities are limited to ensure all roles are Covid secure.
For more information, visit canalrivertrust.org.uk.
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust works across the county to provide wildlife knowledge and expertise, protect habitats and species on its 60 nature reserves, and inspire and educate people about nature with its annual events.
The trust offers a variety of volunteering opportunities, from practical conservation work and wildlife gardening to working with its learning team to deliver educational activities for nature-lovers of all ages. Please note, the trust is currently running a reduced volunteer programme due to Covid-19, with a waiting list for some roles.
For more information, call Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on (01452) 383333.
Community theatre, Cheltenham Playhouse is housed in a beautifully restored former spa that dates back to 1806 and has been a registered charity since 2001.
The Playhouse has been run by a team of dedicated volunteers since 1958 and regularly looks for theatre-loving individuals to devote their time to helping out on front of house, while there are also opportunities to help with the technical side of things.
Please note, Cheltenham Playhouse is currently closed.
The Cheltenham Trust, which manages a portfolio of arts, leisure and historic buildings including The Wilson, Cheltenham Town Hall, Leisure at Cheltenham and Pittville Pump Room, has a range of voluntary roles.
From helping with social media and working as marketing photographer, to assisting the fitness team and being a welcome steward, there are plenty of opportunities to share your expertise with others, while also picking up new skills.
Please note, all Cheltenham Trust venues are currently closed.
By Annabel Lammas
Thursday 14 January 2021
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