National Volunteers Week Walk 6th June
For the past four years as part of a celebration for National Volunteers Week the Lancashire Dotcom Walkers have organised a walk in Cuerden Valley Park. In 2013 we met with volunteers, staff and service users of Brothers of Charity Services and went for a walk to the Mound, an area of open space on the edge of Buckshaw Village. We enjoyed perfect weather for our walk and picnic. We had a great day.
Cuerden Valley Park which straddles the boundaries of South Ribble and Chorley is a volunteer hotspot with four other organisations either in the park or near it whose work is enhanced by voluntary effort these being the Wildlife Trust, Sue Ryder Care, St Catherine’s Hospice Care and the park itself which is run by a charitable trust. So in 2014 the walk involved volunteers from all these charities.
For the 2015 event our friends in the Wildlife Trust organised two activities pond dipping and removing invasive non-native species which were incorporated into the walk. Afterwards the hardy walkers – the weather that day was wet - followed a route through the park ending on the Mound after a visit to Lisieux Hall home to Brothers of Charity Services Lancashire.
Volunteering, the act of giving time and effort with no expectation of reward, plays a vital part in the work of many charities and non-government organisations. For example at Brothers of Charity Services which has supported people with learning disabilities for over 80 years in Lancashire, volunteers use their time, skills and talents in a wide range of roles to enhance the lives of the service users. By befriending, by leading or supporting activities, by fund raising volunteers add value to the charity’s role in our “Big Society”.
In this way volunteering is seen as an act of giving. But there is another side – what the volunteer receives. Beyond the satisfaction one gets from helping others there are many tangible benefits to volunteering. For the young person or unemployed volunteering can provide structured work experience quite often with opportunities for training. For the retired adjusting to a life without work is not easy so volunteering is a way of using the sudden increase in free time. Volunteering is a highly social activity bringing you into contact with a wide range of people – managers and paid staff of the organisation, service users, the public and other volunteers. Being a volunteer connects you to the community.
This year we will once again process through the park from its offices in the Barn to the Mound by way of Lisieux Hall. After gathering at 10.30 we will go through to nearby Cuerden Hall the home of Sue Ryder care which provides hospice and neurological care for people facing a frightening, life-changing diagnosis. It’s not just expert medical care that is provided. It’s the emotional support and practical things that are taken care of too. Sue Ryder Care does whatever it can to be a safety net for our patients and their loved ones.
After a short presentation by Laura Brewer, Volunteer Co-ordinator at Sue Ryder, health walk leader Michael Swarbrick will guide us on a scenic walk through Cuerden Valley Park to arrive at Lisieux Hall at about 12.30pm. Here Becky Gammon Chair of Voice For All the Self-advocacy group of Brothers of Charity Services will welcome participants and bring us up to date on some of the exciting work Voice For All have been involved with over the past 12 months. Her talk will be followed by a picnic (bring your own) and then the group will walk to the Mound for the traditional photograph.
So if you are free on Tuesday 6th June and would like to join us on an enjoyable walk through the park please come to the Barn ready for a 10.30am walk. You do not have to be a volunteer in one of the organisations based close to the park. In fact you do not have to be a volunteer at all but by joining us you’ll find out more about volunteering doing a fun activity.
Start. The Barn Cuerden Valley Park 10.30am Tuesday 6th June
Distance: 6 miles there and back but if you only want a short walk meet the main party at 12.30pm at Lisieux Hall.
Time: Starts at 10.30am and will end 3.30pm (approx.)
Map: OS Explorer 286 Blackpool and Preston although unnecessary as there will be a leader.
1. St Catherine’s Hospice Care
2. Cuerden Valley Park Trust
3. Sue Ryder Care at Cuerden Hall
4. The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
5. Brothers of Charity Services Lancashire