Volunteers in short supply

According to the UK Civil Society Almanac, 11.9m people in the UK volunteer regularly (at least once a month) for groups, clubs or organisations, and 20.1m volunteer occasionally. The voluntary sector is said to contribute the equivalent of £17.1bn to the UK economy. However, while Market Harborough has numerous worthwhile activities supported by the churches, all could use more volunteers.

At the September meeting of the Churches Together in Harborough Forum (comprising representatives from most churches in the area) all the agencies associated with it were appealing for more helpers. The Jubilee Food Bank and the Congregational Church especially are mourning the sudden passing of Colin Sole, who had been a stalwart volunteer since the Food Bank’s inception.

The Bower House Counselling service has a waiting list of potential clients, is planning further fundraising events, and always needs more helpers. So do the Street Pastors whose tenth anniversary is celebrated in September. Charlotte Cooper, the new Youth Worker at The Cube, attended the meeting and said she would value all kinds of volunteers including help with catering. She, along with Cube Trustee Jo Giles, will be visiting churches over the next few months to share the Christian vision associated with The Cube. And the popular New Horizons café run by the Baptist Church in Manor Walk also needs volunteer staff.

Churches Together in Harborough (CTH) itself is still lacking a Secretary, although the current Treasurer would be willing to become Secretary if a volunteer Treasurer could come forward. Neither are onerous tasks in themselves, but the lack means that already busy people have to shoulder additional responsibilities.

In its other business, the Forum heard that this year’s Christian Aid collection raised £8,854, which while commendable is £1,000 less than last year and £2000 less than in 2015.

The Revd Dave Tomlin told the meeting of his ongoing contacts with Waterloo Housing and Harborough District Council concerning the redevelopment of the Naseby Square assisted housing provision and the currently unresolved controversies surrounding it. A possible befriending scheme for elderly people in addition to the help VASL and official carers are able to offer is in the early stages of discussion initially within the Anglican team – which itself would require new volunteers.

Copies of It’s your move, a booklet produced by Scripture Union to help primary school children prepare to move to secondary school, had once again been distributed in the town in July (financed by CTH) and had been well received. There was a request for The Cube to liaise more closely with distributors over the timing of the Cube’s event for primary school leavers.

The full minutes of the meeting will be published at www.harboroughchurches.org.uk (follow the links from the “About us” tab). The “Events” tab has details of forthcoming meetings and services supported by Churches Together and of interest to Christians from different churches.