Inspired by our More in Common Awards, held in partnership with Kirklees Council, the Volunteering Spotlight focuses on a smaller number of groups contributing positively throughout Kirklees.
One of the main challenges community groups face is a need for awareness of their activities, leading to overlooked services and missed chances to volunteer. We want to put volunteer organisations and clubs into the spotlight – raising their profile and encouraging more people to participate and volunteer, enabling an opportunity to learn, develop, and share skills.
The groups explored here embody the More in Common spirit and work to bring people together. From combating social isolation to providing welcoming spaces, we talked to 6 volunteer groups about how they work with their communities.
Volunteering is an inherently empathetic endeavour where people give up their time to help others. It provides a way to physically interact with the world improving health and fitness, with 7 out of 10 volunteers reporting improvements in their mental health, well-being, and loneliness, in a recent report from the National Council of Volunteer Organisations (NCVO).
For many, getting involved in new activities and sports can be a source of much-needed socialising, enabling them to form connections to their community and the people around them, giving them a strong sense of belonging.
It’s a reason to get out of bed in the morning, helping people stay in touch with others as they move house, experience challenging times in their lives, or get older and retire. 9 out of 10 volunteers felt it provided them with enjoyment, a purpose, and a sense of personal achievement, making it a happy and recommendable experience.
With a wide variety of groups available to participate and volunteer, there’s an opportunity for everyone to give a little time and effort to help build and nurture local places.
⭐ In the Spotlight
- Give…A Few Words
- Give…A Few Words aim to reduce social isolation and improve social connections within the community through letter writing, pop-up community events and Give…A Few Words network meetings.
- Royal Voluntary Service Kirklees
- The Royal Voluntary Service helps to provide various activities and services for older people in the Batley & Spen area. Through locally recruited volunteers and a variety of groups, they aim to alleviate loneliness and isolation in people over 50.
- Streetbikes CIC
- Streetbikes CIC enables people of “all ages, all abilities, and all disabilities” to cycle safely using adapted and non-adapted bikes. They do this through their “flagship” Mixed Ability cycling sessions at the Spen Valley Running track, Community Rides on the Greenway, and Learn to Ride sessions.
- PeerTalk is a registered UK charity providing in-person peer support for groups of individuals experiencing depression, anxiety, and related distress. They currently have 16 support groups in England, with 2 in Kirklees, taking place in Batley and Huddersfield.
- Batley Poets
- Batley Poets are a poetry group hosting regular open-mic sessions, creating displays, and running poetry projects. Their website hosts more than 200 poems by over 60 local people. Their aim has always been to provide “a platform for bedroom poets to share their poetry”.
- 6 Million+
- 6 Million+ is a creative arts project working with refugees and local communities to exchange stories of the Holocaust, genocides, and contemporary persecution at home and abroad. They do this by creating temporary art installations and events that commemorate Jews and other minorities killed in the Holocaust and continuing genocides to “challenge discrimination of any kind and work towards a kinder future.”