A BISHOP has extolled the values of volunteering as he blessed a town’s oldest charity.

The Right Reverend Mark Bryant, the Bishop of Jarrow, said volunteering helps individuals to stand in others’ shoes and “grow in compassion”.

“And that is the reason why we need to find ways in which more and more people can be encouraged to volunteer.

“Not simply because of the benefits of those who receive volunteering but because there is a real possibility that volunteering will make us more compassionate,” he said.

Bishop Bryant was speaking at a service of thanksgiving to mark the 175th anniversary of Darlington Town Mission, held at St Cuthbert’s Church tonight (Tuesday, April 30).

The Mission, founded by Quakers and an Anglican vicar, now tackles isolation by visiting elderly people, providing Christian fellowship.

Bishop Bryant said the Mission was a wonderful example of the difference well-led volunteers can make and asked God to continue to bless it.

“Our society is the society that can always use a very significant injection of compassion and that’s what the Town Mission is doing,” he said.