High Sheriff’s praise for charity which has found 10,000 volunteers in three years
06:30 16 February 2013
The High Sheriff of Norfolk heard yesterday how one of Norfolk’s biggest charities has placed 10,000 people in volunteering jobs in just three years.
Henry Cator spent the morning at Voluntary Norfolk in Norwich, where he found out more about the work it does, which includes filling volunteer roles and supporting community organisations across the county – some 750 since 2010.
As well as chief executive Brian Horner, and other heads of service, Mr Cator spoke to volunteers and found out about the Friend in Need campaign run in partnership with the Norwich Evening News from reporter Mark Shields.
Student Daniel Tooke explained how he had volunteered as a way to meet people from different walks of life, and now visits a man in his 90s every week through the befriending programme.
“Befriending is one of the best things I have ever done in my life,” said the 19-year-old, who said he was “just an average teenager”.
“I went into it because I wanted to find out about other aspects of life, and it’s been such a great experience.”
Mr Cator was also told how the Friend in Need campaign had brought forward new volunteers for the befriending service, while a series of open days had provided opportunities for people to find out about other volunteering opportunities on offer.
Volunteering manager Andrew Morter explained that a new generation of younger volunteers was coming to organisation, looking for ways to boost their CVs and give something back to their communities.
A new ‘hub’ centre opened last year in Cromer was providing support for North Norfolk charities, complementing Voluntary Norfolk’s existing bases in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Thetford, he added.
Calling Voluntary Norfolk “the cement between the bricks” of the voluntary sector, Mr Cator said he hoped he could offer support from the High Sheriff’s Nourishing Norfolk Together fund.
“I didn’t realise they help as many people as they do – the depth of the service is very impressive,” he said.
“In Norfolk we are already hugely in the debt of volunteers, but that’s not to say there aren’t others willing to help.”
Mr Horner thanked Mr Cator for his visit, and added: “We tend to hide our light under a bushel, but this was a chance for Henry to meet the staff and get a rounded picture.
“We are proud of what we do, and the fact we have placed 10,000 people in the last three years, and helped 750 organisations.
“We hope that Henry can become an ambassador for what we are doing.”