Chance to lend a hand

West Lindsey Volunteer Centre, based at The Guildhall, Gainsborough. Pictured are Gill Taylor, Sam Crow, Vanessa Mounders and Martin Woolley G110719-7a

West Lindsey Volunteer Centre, based at The Guildhall, Gainsborough. Pictured are Gill Taylor, Sam Crow, Vanessa Mounders and Martin Woolley G110719-7a

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Voluntary work is proving just as popular as ever, particularly with people who have lost their paid employment or are looking to learn new skills.

The Volunteer Centre Services for West Lindsey, which has just moved to a new home in Gainsborough, is getting referrals from job centres and training agencies of people prepared to do unpaid work.

Projects officer Gill Taylor said they had just placed their 1,500th volunteer in the district.

She said: “It’s amazing how generous people are. It’s not just about giving either, people get so much out of volunteering themselves.”

“They want to put their skills to good use and get out and meet people and want to give something back.”

The VCS has moved to new offices in the Guildhall at Marshalls Yard, a move prompted by the lease coming to an end on its previous office at the Lindsey Centre.

Gill said there are all kinds of different volunteering opportunities available, ranging from canal restoration and befriending to working at Trinity Arts Centre as an usher or in the bar.

She said: “Some people volunteer to gain useful skills which they can then put on their CV when they are looking for paid work.”

“It can be a great way of gaining knowledge and experience of a job and that’s as good a reason to volunteer as any.”

“Volunteering can defintely increase employability.”

The VCS has 155 volunteering opportunities available at the moment and matches volunteers with the opportunity which best suits them.

Gill said: “Our skill lies in our brokerage service. We interview people to find out more about them and what they would enjoy doing.”

“After they have been placed in a volunteering role we then do follow-ups with them to make sure everything is going well.”

Gill is joined by outreach adviser Vanessa Maunders and support officer Sam Crow. They also have two volunteer staff and are looking to recruit a third.

The Volunteer Centre works with around 300 organisations, supporting community and voluntary groups, and clubs for the benefit of the community.

Advice, information and training is provided by staff who also organise regular networking opportunities and events.

Opportunities from Gainsborough and all across the UK are also posted online at www.do-it.org.uk, a national volunteering database.

Sam said: “We have volunteers from the age of 16 and there is no upper age limit.”

West Lindsey District Council chief executive Manjeet Gill said: “Volunteering is something I am very passionate about and is something I would recommend anyone to try.”

“Volunteering led me to start work in local government so you will be amazed at the doors it can open for you.”

“No matter how much time you have to spare I am sure the volunteer centre will be able to find something to suit everyone.”

The VCS is open Monday to Friday, from 9am to 4pm. For more information call 01427 613470 or email info@vcswestlindsey.org.uk