New study and Impact Report celebrates volunteers at Downing Street reception with Patron Samantha Cameron.
A new survey by national disabled people’s charity Revitalise has highlighted the enormous personal and social benefits of volunteering.
The survey findings were issued to coincide with the launch by Revitalise of two new Impact Reports for 2015 at a 10 Downing Street reception in the presence of the charity’s Patron Samantha Cameron. The evening celebrated Revitalise’s volunteers and showcased the benefits and impacts of volunteering.
One highlight of the evening was the presentation by Samantha Cameron of a Point of Light Award to long-serving volunteer Tim Prideaux, who is a former Trustee of over 20 year’s standing and a current VP of Revitalise.
Revitalise operates the largest residential volunteering programme of any UK charity. In 2014-15, Revitalise benefitted from 3,946 weeks of volunteering, provided by 1,477 volunteers, over 8 out of 10 of whom were aged between 16 and 25.
The contribution of volunteers is indispensable to Revitalise, enabling the charity to provide a wide variety of life-enhancing holiday experiences for the disabled people and carers who come to Revitalise’s three accessible centres for respite breaks.
The Revitalise research revealed some of the benefits of volunteering in relation to the world of work. An overwhelming 95% of the Revitalise volunteers in the 16-25 age group believed that volunteering improved their job prospects.
To confirm this belief, half (49%) of the volunteers in the same age group now in work said that volunteering had helped them get their jobs.
The personal benefits of volunteering also featured strongly in the survey. 95% of the Revitalise volunteers said the experience had improved their understanding and attitude towards disabled people.
The value of volunteering in empowering people to improve society is also known by Revitalise; in a 2014 survey, three quarters (77%) of volunteers said the experience had inspired them to play a more active role in the community.
In financial terms the impact of Revitalise volunteers is also impressive. The contribution of the charity’s army of volunteers was calculated at over £925,000 in 2014-15, based on minimum wage.
These statistics, together with the testimonies of some of Revitalise’s volunteers, are contained in the charity’s new Impact Report, ‘Sharing Stories’, launched at a reception at 10 Downing Street on 13 October, at the invitation of the charity’s Patron, Samantha Cameron.
In the light of the survey’s findings, Revitalise is championing volunteering as an all-important head start for young people entering the world of work, as well as catalyst for self-improvement.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds commented:
“On behalf of Revitalise I would like to thank our Patron, Samantha Cameron, for inviting us to Downing Street to launch our new Impact Reports, and congratulate Tim Prideaux on a well-deserved Point of Light Award.
“It is very important to us to demonstrate that what we do is making a genuine difference, and our two new Impact Reports are designed to do just that. The personal testimonies of those we serve – coupled with our own research – paint a vivid picture of the very real impact we are making, not only on the disabled people and carers we support, but also on the volunteers who support us.
“Our survey strongly suggests that volunteering gives young people a vital edge in the competition for jobs. The fact that half of the young people now in work said volunteering had helped them get their jobs is evidence of that.
“What’s more, through volunteering with Revitalise, young people are benefitting in a wide variety of other ways too. It is very gratifying to see that their volunteering experience with us is inspiring young people to get more involved in improving society.
“Revitalise is over 50 years old and we owe our very existence to the inspirational efforts of volunteers, so I’d like to appeal to young people to try their hand at volunteering with us and give their lives and career prospects a much-needed boost.”
In her speech at the reception, Samantha Cameron commented:
“Looking after a loved one with special needs can be exhausting and all encompassing. Revitalise recognises this. Their centres ensure that disabled guests enjoy the fun and new holiday experiences that other people take for granted, whilst their carers and families are given a well earned break.”
21 year-old Henry Mann is a current Revitalise volunteer whose story is featured in one of the new Impact Reports. Henry said:
“Volunteering with Revitalise has made the most fundamental impact on my life. I’ve grown in confidence. There’s a different kind of satisfaction you find through selflessness that you can’t get in other ways.”
On receiving a Point of Light Award, Revitalise VP Tim Prideaux commented:
“I was bowled over to receive a Points of Light award – from none other than Samantha Cameron! It was a wonderful surprise and one I shall never forget. I accept this award on behalf of the thousands of volunteers each year who give their free time to help Revitalise provide truly transformative experiences for disabled people and carers.”