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Call out for more volunteers to help children and young people thrive in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council is asking residents to spare some time and be a force for good in children and young people's lives by taking on a volunteering role

Published 31 May 2024

Wiltshire Council is asking residents to spare some time and be a force for good in children and young people's lives by taking on a volunteering role.

The council needs more volunteers in a range of roles including as school governors or mentors for children and young people who need additional support at difficult times.

During Volunteers Week from 3 June the council will be sharing first hand experiences of people who took the decision to spend their spare time being a volunteer and the impact it had on the child but also how they found it beneficial too.

Vanessa is a new volunteer and is an Appropriate Adult and Referral Order Panel Member with the Youth Justice Service. Vanessa safeguards young people's interests if they have been detained in custody. She is also a panel member helping young people to prevent reoffending. The service recently obtained a good rating from inspectors.

She explains when she retired she wanted to spend her time doing something meaningful and volunteering with children.

"I will definitely recommend volunteering. As a completely new venture for me I'm finding it both challenging and satisfying in equal measures, and it's really humbling when a young person you're helping smiles at you and says thank you."

People who are interested in this role can volunteer as an adult alongside a child or young person, providing 1:1 support. Training and ongoing help is provided. They will help children and families in need by befriending, mentoring, advocating and supporting children in police custody or by sitting in a referral order panel. For further information, people can email communityinvolvementteam@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) or ring 01225 716623 for more details.

Wiltshire Council is also asking for more school governors to come forward. Governors can be parents or members of the community who are interested in being part of the running of a school or education setting. 

Sophie who works at Wiltshire Music Connect, part of Wiltshire Council explained the benefits: "My job is desk based and I don't get to see many people. Being a governor gives me an opportunity to go into a school and meet children and it really brings to life what I do in my day job so I'm connecting with real people in a school setting. I've also learned a huge amount from being a governor. There has been lots of useful knowledge and expertise that I've picked up, things about Ofsted and about the education system and I've found all of that really useful as a parent but I've also learned lots of soft skills, how to negotiate and to debate. Also coming up with practical solutions to problems."

People who would like to find out more about volunteering as a governor, can visit Inspiring Governance: Wiltshire on Board (opens new window) or get in touch with the team to find out more governorservices@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window).

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services said: "Volunteers' Week is a chance to celebrate and recognise the fantastic contribution our volunteers make. Thanks to school governors our schools have benefited from a huge range of skills, experiences and perspectives with governors providing positive feedback and acting as a critical friend to encourage high standards of education for all our children.

We also see the impact of having this support in our Youth Justice Service and hearing the difference it can make to a child or young person and their family going through a difficult time of their lives.

"We always need more volunteers to take on these incredibly rewarding roles. We will provide the training and support and ensure you're ready to take on that voluntary role."

Wiltshire Council has a wide range of volunteer rolesavailable including in libraries, heritage and arts and a host of other areas.

Volunteers' Week (opens new window) 2024 runs from 3 - 9 June and is celebrating 40 years of inspiring people to make a difference.

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