SELFLESS volunteers who help give a voice to some of the county’s disabled and vulnerable residents have been praised for all their efforts.
As part of Volunteer Week, which ended on Friday, ‘advocates’ of Littlehampton-based charity Impact Initiative were given a special cream tea party to recognise all their hard work, with the town’s mayor, Jill Long, as the guest of honour.
The party was held after a morning of extra training for the volunteers, at Dove Lodge, in Beach Road, Littlehampton, last week.
Liz Evans, service manager for the group, said it was to reward all the advocates’ commitment.
“Our advocates help disabled people from across Sussex,” she said. “They work exceptionally hard and never ask for anything in return.
“Our volunteers don’t go into this to get any thanks but I think they really appreciate it when we push the boat out for them.
“After all, we wouldn’t be able to help so many people without them.”
Many of the advocates have been giving up their time, freely, for several years.
They help provide vital advice and support to disabled people from across Sussex.
This could be assistance helping them understand the tricky processes behind applying for various grants, to simply helping communicate issues and problems faced by disabled people to those without any afflictions.
Rustington woman Valerie Narayanaswamy has been volunteering with the group for about four years.
She says the satisfaction she gets from helping others is immeasurable.
“I felt I have had a very successful career and a very good family life with my children, who now have children of their own, and it seemed sad not to give something back to society.
“I still have skills which I like to use. I do have good interpersonal skills.
“Every time you help someone, it feels so rewarding to know that you’ve helped to do something to improve their life.”
During the day, the volunteers had a chance to learn about the impact of autism and how to help those who are autistic to communicate better.
Liz added that in spite of all this training and all the committed volunteers the service already has, they are desperate for more people to join them.
She is urging people to contact the organisation and volunteer as an advocate.
All those wishing to find out more about the charity should call 01903 730044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org