I know it’s traditional to write our thank you letters after Christmas, not before. But this year it seems appropriate to say ‘thank you’ in advance of the festive season to some of the people who have helped to keep Orb growing into a successful organisation that’s so much bigger than the sum of its parts.
First of all, a big thank you to all volunteers.
Let’s just take a look at our volunteering numbers!
During 2013 69 people have volunteered with Orb, some working on a regular weekly basis, others calling in as and when required. The work they do adds up to the equivalent of 2 full time paid members of staff!
Of this 69, 24 people had originally been engaged with Orb as service users, and are now gaining valuable experience and insights while using their own skills and enthusiasm to help others.
By simple arithmetic this means that 45 other volunteers were coming in from the wider community, bringing in musical, artistic or other skills to support others and learning about mental wellbeing in return.
We also supported 11 students to complete work placements, giving them extra insight into mental well being at at time when depression and anxiety in young people are rising rapidly.
We’ve met one of our key targets in improveming the gender balance to 60% male / 40% female, up from only 25% female volunteers a year ago.
And we’ve attracted 5 volunteers from around the world : USA, Spain, China, Japan and Lithuania. Not bad for a little Yorkshire market town!
So thank you to everyone who has turned up this year to support mental wellbeing in the Knaresborough community.
So what have we all been doing?
Here is a sample of some of the areas our volunteers have been contributing to:
Art tuition, art workshops, art displays in Harrogate Library
Facilitating music sessions
IT lessons & infrastructure support
Tuition in guitar, piano, drums, singing, song writing and music production
We haven’t come up with anything beginning with ‘Z’ yet – maybe zoology in the future? – but you get the general idea. Volunteering makes creativity happen, creativity helps to boost mental wellbeing for all of us.
Thanks also to groups in the wider community
- To the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, whose generous grant in 2013 made so much of the above possible .
- To the Duke of York’s Community Initiative for an award of £1,000 to keep our garden – and our green therapy – going.
- To Ecominds, for helping us to etablish our Eco-garden in the first place.
- To Harrogate Library for hosting our first Summer Art Show – and for giving us the space to do the same again next year. It’ll be a bit like the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition – only more fun!
- To the Forest of Knaresborough Lodge for an award of £1,000. As a community charity, we very much appreciate the support of other Knaresborough groups.
Thanks to everyone who’s helped to make 2013 a little bit better – and to everyone who’s thinking of joining us in 2014.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.