EAST Durham Trust is highlighting the impact and invaluable contribution that volunteers make to the local community during this Volunteer Week.

The Peterlee-based trust provides a wide range of volunteer led services within the community, including an emergency food parcel service, hot meal deliveries, debt and benefit advice, support for private tenants, telephone befriending, support for people living with cancer, activities during the school holidays, transport to work, job clubs, a one stop support and advice centre plus much more.

The services are primarily ran by a team of volunteers who give their time on a regular basis to help their local community.

Around 100 volunteers support the delivery of these essential projects that have become an integrated part of the support system for the local community. During National Volunteers Week the Trust will be highlighting the invaluable work that volunteers do and recognising the contribution which volunteering makes to the wider community as a whole.

Trust chief executive Malcolm Fallow said, “Some of the most vulnerable members of our local community rely on the support of hardworking volunteers on a daily basis.

“In times of austerity, many public services have been cut and the voluntary sector has been left to pick up the pieces, with volunteers providing essential support.

“Without a doubt our local community would be in a far worse position without the dedication and hard work of the hundreds of people who give their time every week to help”.

Volunteering also provides major benefits to the individual volunteer such as helping to improve wellbeing, increasing employability and skills, developing opportunities to socialise and meet new friends. One such example of this would be East Durham Trust staff member Kylie Austin, who recently progressed to a paid role at the Trust after spending two years volunteering for an East Durham Trust project.

Kylie who is now Project Co-ordinator for the Trust’s Community Coaches Project said, “I started volunteering in 2017 a couple of days a week. I wanted to help the local community and its residents with numerous issues. Volunteering gave me a purpose that I was helping and supporting their needs. I have learnt so much in my time at the Trust, I’m so proud of what East Durham Trust do for our local community and proud to be a part of it.”

For more information on volunteering contact 0191 5693511 or email info@eastdurhamtrust.org.uk.