An empty city centre building is to be brought back to life as part of a major push on volunteering in the city.Advertisement
Preston Volunteers has launched and aims to re-establish a strong community volunteering network.
Backed by funding from the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund – totalling £260,000 – the volunteering network aims to connect organisations who need volunteers with those who want to help out in their community. The funding covers the set up and operations of the volunteer network along with the building in Shepherd Street being brought back into use.
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As part of the service the currently empty Unity Community Centre in Shepherd Street is being refitted by Preston City Council and will act as a training and city base for Preston Volunteers from Spring this year.
Kate Lee, volunteering manager with Preston Volunteers and Community CVS, told Blog Preston: “We saw such a burst of volunteering during the pandemic with lots of initiatives and people coming forward, and that spirit is still there.
“But a lot of people don’t know where to turn to and in Preston it has been many years since an organisation existed to join the dots between people wanting to volunteer and those groups who need them.
“Preston Volunteers is up and running and we’ve had a great response so far, especially from our first meeting with organisations who are seeking volunteers – it was packed – showing the appetite and need there is for us to operate in the city.”
Community CVS, who are co-ordinating the set up of Preston Volunteers, has extensive experience at operating volunteer networks in other parts of Lancashire.
The website for Preston Volunteers is already live and has more than 140 volunteering opportunities on behalf of charities and community groups in the city for people to sign up for.
Volunteering opportunities range from gardening, to visiting the elderly through to helping with social media for charities and community groups.
As well as the website the Preston Volunteers team will be in Preston Town Hall every Tuesday from 10am to 1pm to speak to while they await the refit of Unity Community Centre – ask for Preston Volunteers at the Town Hall reception.
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Cabinet member for health and wellbeing, councillor Jennifer Mein, said: “Our volunteers are a great asset, and we are blessed in Preston with so many kind-hearted people who go above and beyond to help others. We know that for many volunteering can be a very fulfilling and even life-changing experience, but it’s not always clear where to look for opportunities.
“We wanted to help make it easier for people to make that difference in their community and Preston Volunteers can do just that – online and through its training courses and hub when that is launched. I’m in no doubt that Preston Volunteers will have a positive impact on the lives of many residents across Preston.”
Anyone who is interested in being involved or wants further information can contact Kate and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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