Call for more community volunteers in Westmorland and Furness

As part of National Volunteers’ Week, Westmorland and Furness Council is reminding residents of some of the volunteering opportunities available within their area.

Volunteers’ Week, which is in its 40th year and runs from 3-9 June, aims to highlight volunteering opportunities and celebrate volunteers for their fantastic contribution to our communities.

From helping your community to get out and about, to lending a helping hand to your local library, here are some of the ways you can get involved and support your local area:

Community Transport Volunteers

Westmorland and Furness Council’s Community Transport Service has a team of 122 volunteer drivers and co-ordinators delivering around 17 voluntary social car schemes throughout Cumbria, providing journeys for people who need to do the weekly shop, see the doctor, or just to visit friends. These volunteers help customers with their transport needs every year, with over 5,600 trips provided during 2023-24.

The council is on the look-out for more people to give up some of their spare time to be volunteer drivers or scheme co-ordinators, with all expenses reimbursed. As well as learning new skills and providing a lifeline for people without access to transport, signing up as a volunteer is a good way to meet new people and give something back to the community.

Volunteer co-ordinators are needed in the following areas:

  • Sedbergh / Dent
  • Ulverston / Dalton-in-Furness
  • Greystoke
  • Rural Barrow

Volunteer drivers are needed in the following areas:

  • Alston
  • Ambleside / Windermere / Coniston
  • Appleby
  • Grange-over-Sands / Allithwaite
  • Kendal
  • Kirkby Stephen
  • Lowick, Blawith & Oxen Park
  • Penrith
  • Sedbergh / Dent
  • Shap / Tebay / Orton
  • Skelton / Lamonby / Greystoke
  • Ulverston / Dalton-in-Furness
  • Rural Barrow

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Katy Wood, Voluntary Transport Officer, on 07788 396194.

Library Volunteers

Summer Reading Challenge

The council is currently looking for young volunteers aged 14 to 24 to assist with its popular Summer Reading Challenge. By becoming reading champions, volunteers will encourage and support young people aged 4 to 12 to keep reading during the summer holidays.

This is a fantastic opportunity for volunteers to be part of a team, build confidence and develop creative skills as they talk to children about the books they’ve read and help staff with activities both online and in the library.

Training will be provided before the challenge starts. If volunteers are working towards a Duke of Edinburgh award or similar, their logged hours can contribute towards it.

Find out more on the Westmorland and Furness Libraries website.

Love Barrow Libraries

If you live in or around Barrow and would like to lend a hand to your local library, there are a number of volunteering opportunities on offer to support the Love Barrow Libraries project, including reading to children, reading with adults, visiting schools and care homes, helping with chess and games clubs and assisting at toddler and friendship groups. For more information, please email emma.wallwork@westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk.

Support your local library

Plus, did you know that you can volunteer with your local library to help deliver books to housebound residents? Get in touch with your local library to find out more.

Active Travel Volunteers

Active Cumbria’s ‘Travel Actively’ programme has several opportunities to get involved with volunteering to support people to walk, wheel or cycle for everyday journeys. This could include training as a bike mechanic, cycle leader or assisting with events. Find out more at www.activecumbria.org/behealthybeactive/travel-actively/get-involved or email travelactively@cumbria.gov.uk.

Volunteering Fairs

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering opportunities across Westmorland and Furness, Cumbria CVS is holding volunteering fairs in Barrow, Kendal and Penrith this month for residents to meet organisations and learn more about the wide range of opportunities on offer. Find out more on the Cumbria CVS website.


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