How to set up a Volunteers Hub…

The Thornton Le Dale Village Hub came out of a discussion of a small group of residents interested in the possibility of organising a Farmers Market in the Village.

Here we are now with a functioning Hub!

Two residents, Denise Rajab and Roger Sharples, spent a considerable amount of time (800 hours) compiling the framework that would create the structure for the Hub. This structure of the Hub was decided following consultation with a representative of another Hub and the support of CaVCA.

The first step towards the implementation of the Hub was to gauge the response of members of the local community to the idea through the distribution of a questionnaire to all the residences in the village. The questions included a general ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in favour of the Hub, how much time individuals were willing to volunteer and their ideas for activities and developments to enhance the village environment. As a follow up to the findings of the questionnaire, an open/presentation evening was organised in the village hall. The evening was attended by over 100 residents and more importantly it produced a wide range of positive ideas.

It was decided to focus on the following activities:

  • Litter picking and kerb/pavement cleaning
  • The restoration and development of the village pond
  • Village in Bloom Project (including a Spring Bulb project)
  • Painting the railings in the village

So where are we now?

  • The litter picking / kerb cleaning group has held four monthly meetings and some smaller group additional morning sessions, with the amazing result of collecting 123 bags of rubbish!
  • The pond project has made good progress in clearing the pond and the surrounds. A woodcarver has produced two beautiful figures, one of an owl and one of a kingfisher. By next spring it is intended to have a Nature Trail, a performance area, additional seating and benches to accommodate wheelchair users & young children in place and more woodland bulbs planted.
  • Village In Bloom - Donations of spring bulbs have been received and these are to be planted at the end of October. Planning of the positioning of planters is underway, and representatives of the local traders group are to assist in the provision of additional hanging baskets. A sensory focused planter is planned. Maybe we will enter the Yorkshire in Bloom competition…
  • Painting the railings in the village - A group of volunteers are progressing well with removing the rust and repainting the railings. It is a good number of years since the latter were painted and they had a neglected appearance. They certainly look better now!

How are the Hub activities funded?

The hub is funded through grant applications and fundraising activities. To date two grants have been received; one from Ryedale Council for the setting up of the website and provision of display boards and one from NYCC towards the cost of the pond project. Fundraising activities have included a spinride, cake stalls, tombolas and raffles.

What makes the Hub tick?

  • The participation and involvement of the volunteers are paramount to the momentum and success of the Hub alongside the development of a feeling of ownership by the volunteers for the appearance of their village.
  • A balance between work and social. Make the activities enjoyable. Always finish every activity in the local pub or with a cuppa and a cake!

‘I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can’ – George Bernhard Shaw

‘Volunteers are not paid because they are worthless, they are not paid because they are priceless’