Local MP Toby Perkins joined staff, volunteers and stakeholders at the Chesterfield & North East Derbyshire Volunteer’s annual general meeting (AGM), which marked another successful year for the organisation.
Toby said, “Volunteer organisations across the country have struggled over the last few years but The Volunteer Centre remains resilient during these tough times. Much of this is due to the excellent fundraising skills of the centre manager, Dave Radford, and because of the hard work of the staff, volunteers and board, who really go above and beyond for the people they are supporting.”
The Volunteer Centre, which is based on Knifesmithgate in Chesterfield town centre, has over 250 volunteer-supporting organisations registered with them and provides a number of services across the Borough and North East Derbyshire. Toby presented a special recognition ward to volunteer, Brian Veasey, and to the Chair, Sheelagh Hanson, who is standing down after 4 years in the role.
Toby made special mention of the Centre’s ‘Elderfriends’ befriending service, which is aimed at lonely and socially isolated people who are over 50 years old and live in Chesterfield and NE Derbyshire.
Toby said, “With the huge pressures on social care and cuts to council budgets, there are many older people who are not receiving the support they need and are becoming increasingly isolated and cut off from the community. The Elderfriends service is a vital lifeline for many vulnerable and lonely people in Chesterfield. They currently have over 400 people waiting for befrienders and I would urge more people to volunteer with the service”.
Toby is supporting the new Parliamentary Commission on Loneliness, which was originally conceived by Jo Cox, the MP for Batley & Spen who was murdered last year.