As the festive season approaches, people across Sunderland are being urged to make a unique New Year resolution.

Sunderland Carers Centre is putting out a call for more volunteers in 2019, as it looks to use the skills, abilities, determination and drive of people across Wearside to enhance its offer to carers.

To oversee the recruitment drive, the Carers Centre has recruited Volunteer Co-ordinator Cath Phillipson, who only took up the role in October but is already making headway in her grand plan to compile a comprehensive volunteer database.

“Volunteering can be what the individual wants it to be,” she said. “It can be a regular commitment of time, an ad-hoc hour here and there or just letting it be known that you’re there if required or called upon.

“It is my job to find those people who have the right sort of knowledge, free time and temperament that will add to what we already provide at Sunderland Carers Centre. That may be a guitar teacher willing to give up an hour to teach a class, a business that could maybe lend a hand with fundraising efforts or a retired craft teacher who may welcome the opportunity to take a regular class of carers.

“If people have spare time to offer and really want to make a difference to people’s lives, then we will work with them to create a role for them.”

Cath has a wealth of experience around volunteering, having been a volunteer herself and managed volunteer schemes when employed by Sunderland City Council and the local cancer charity, FACT.

The Carers Centre already has a strong stable of volunteers, but as the need for more support for people who dedicate their lives to looking after others increases, so does the pressure on the facility’s current services and employees.

Carers Centre assistant chief executive, Amanda Brown, said: “It is fantastic to welcome someone with the experience and contacts of Cath to Sunderland Carers Centre.

“We take great pride in the way we approach support for carers, wrapping our services around them and their friends and families to ensure the greatest possible impact. We do the same for our dedicated army of volunteers, tailoring their role to meet their needs and time commitments and ensuring that they get as much enjoyment and fulfilment from their volunteering role as the person or groups that they are helping.”

Age, race, gender and physical ability represent no barriers to volunteering. Cath and the Carers Centre team are keen to hear from anyone interested in signing up.

“I know from my experience that there are hundreds of people out there who would be able to bring something new to what we do,” added Cath. “It may be someone who is retired, out of work, feels unfulfilled in their professional life, simply wants to give something back to the community or a business looking for a worthy cause to adopt and fundraise for – we want to hear from you.

“Volunteering is not about us as an organisation trying to get something for nothing. It is about individuals understanding that a little of their time and experience could have an enormous impact on the lives of someone else…and, in turn, they experience the almost overwhelming sense of achievement that helping someone can provide.

“So many of our volunteers tell us that they feel they get as much from volunteering as those who access our service do from the support they provide.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about volunteering for Sunderland Carers Centre, should contact Cath on: 0191 549 3768 or email: Cath@sunderlandcarers.co.uk

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