Ever considered giving up your spare time to learn a life saving skill or to keep someone company?
Charities across the district were offering people the opportunity to do just that at a volunteering showcase event last week at the Y Centre, on the corner of Albion Way.
The event was organised by the Horsham Voluntary Action team, on Tuesday September 23, to give local charities and groups in West Sussex a chance to come and speak to members of the public about their causes and try to increase their number of volunteers.
There were a wide range of charities involved in the showcase including local branches of national charities such as The British Red Cross, the Samaritans and Age UK, as well as smaller charities that operate solely in the local area such as the Olive Tree and the Horsham Child Contact Centre.
Lisa Setterington, administration manager for Horsham Voluntary Action, said: “It has been a big success. It has been a great opportunity for the charities to do some networking and meet each other. Everybody has been really positive and there was an excellent vibe in the room. We will do it again next year, definitely.”
Each charity set up their own stall in the centre, informing members of the public about their different roles and showing people how they could sign up and help with the cause if they had a few hours spare.
Barbara Robinson was at the showcase representing charity Missing People, which provides support for families and friends of people who go missing as well as helping those who go missing.
She said: “We are a small national charity. We have a strong small group of staff who work with everybody else in the area.
“There are a small group of us that live in Crawley and we came down to try and get more people involved in Horsham.”
Caroline Thomas from the Samaritans, who are available 24 hours a day for people who need someone to talk to, was also on the hunt for local volunteers.
She said: “We are for everyone at any time. We have got a good core group of volunteers but we really need another ten. People think we are just a national charity but we are local as well. We have a Horsham office that is open from 9am until 9pm every day so we are very local.”
Sue Dove, a volunteer at charity Winston’s Wish, said: “Events like this one are brilliant as volunteers are so important and we cannot deliver our services without them. They are also brilliant for raising the profile of our charities.” Winston’s Wish offers support for children who have lost a loved one.
But the charities were not just there to try to gain more volunteers. They were also there to meet other groups and organisations and gain more contacts in case any of them needed help from one another in the future.
Ruth Hodgson was representing Horsham Foodbank at the showcase and said: “Without each other we do not get the clients and help we need.
“Events like this raise the profile of the charity which is important for us.”
The foodbank has supplied emergency food to more than 350 people in the Horsham area this past year to help those who have been unable to get enough food for themselves.
Judith Fitter, from the British Red Cross, said: “I think events like this are vital as we like what other organisation are offering and we can find out where to go if we need them. We can also tell people about the charity and try and get a few more volunteers at the same time. It’s a win-win.”
Marilyn Drury, from charity the Olive Tree said: “For us it has given us the chance to talk to other charities in the area which is something you don’t usually get the chance to do.
“It is the first time we have come and it has been really worthwhile.” The Olive Tree offers support and counselling for people in the Horsham area who are currently being affected by cancer, either as a patient or a carer for one.
Liz Catchpole from Carers Support, which offers help for people caring for others who may be ill or disabled, said: “Events like this are excellent. I think it is always good to know and remind ourselves of the range of services out there for us.”
Charities that were there on the day included:
For more information visit http://www.missingpeople.org.uk or call or text 116 000.
Samaritans Horsham and Crawley
For more information call (01403) 276276 or (01293) 515151 or visit http://www.samaritans.org/
Horsham District Food Bank
For more information visit http://horshamdistrict.foodbank.org.uk/ or call (01403) 211833.
Southdowns Housing Association
For more information visit http://www.southdownhousing.org/
For more information visit http://www.stroke.org.uk/
For more information call 0300 028 8888 or visit http://www.carerssupport.org.uk/
British Red Cross
For more information contact (01403) 264713 or visit http://www.redcross.org.uk
For more information call (01403) 241866 or visit http://www.richmondfellowship.org.uk/
For more information call (01293) 534465 or visit http://www.olivetreecancersupport.org.uk/
Circle South East
For more information call (01235) 816050 or visit http://www.circlessoutheast.org.uk/
Horsham Child Contact Centre
For more information call 07594 598243 or visit http://www.horshamccc.org/
Out There West Sussex
For more information call (01293) 544773 or visit http://www.outreach3way.org/out-there-west-sussex
For more information call (01903) 730044 or visit www.impact-initiatives.org.uk
For more information call (01242) 515157 or visit http://www.winstonswish.org.uk/
Horsham District Wellbeing
For more information call (01403) 215111 or visit www.horshamdistrictwellbeing.org.uk
Horsham Voluntary Action
For more information visit http://www.horshamvoluntaryaction.org/
Rofffey Robins Football club
For more information email Dave Wellbelove on firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information call (01403) 260560 or visit www.ageukhorshamdistrict.org.uk
The Dame Vera Lynn Trust
For more information call (01403) 780444 or visit http://www.dvltrust.org.uk/
The ARK Horsham
For more information visit http://thearkhorsham.org.uk/
Southwater Neighbourhood Network
For more information visit http://www.southwaternn.co.uk/
Outset Youth Action
For more information visit http://www.outsetyouth.org.uk/
West Sussex Learning Links
For more information visit http://www.wslearninglinks.org.uk/
St Barnabas House Hospices
For more information visit http://www.stbarnabas-hospice.org.uk/
Horsham District Children and Family Centres, West Sussex County Council