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Famous Welsh venues host annual celebrations of volunteering

The famous Italianate village of Portmeirion and open air national history museum St Fagans are among the many and varied venues set to host celebrations of Volunteers’ Week 2015.

From 1-7 June, third sector groups throughout Wales will be holding events aimed at recruiting, rewarding and recognising volunteers – from presenting them with awards to treating them to lunch and Indian head and back massages.

‘Volunteers’ Week is a national event which showcases the fantastic contribution that millions of volunteers make across the UK,’ said Fiona Liddell, Volunteering Development Officer for Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA).

‘The week plays a huge part in raising their profile and has captured the imagination of charities and other third sector groups up and down the country, with more and more seizing the opportunity to get involved.’

On Friday, 29 May, Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Services (NPTCVS) is holding a volunteer festival in Victoria Gardens – subject to the weather – from 11am–1.30pm. The CVS is also holding a volunteer presentation evening on Monday, 1 June at Baglan Community Church, with Gwenda Thomas AM presenting certificates to individual volunteers and community groups, starting at 6pm.

St Fagans has many volunteers and on Monday 1 June is hosting a volunteer garden party in the Castle Gardens between 1.30pm and 4.00pm. At the same time, the museum will also be presented with the Investing in Volunteers Award by Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates AM.

Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) is staging events throughout the week for organisations to raise awareness of the range of volunteer opportunities available to local people. These will take place on 1 June at Bridgend Market, Wednesday 3 June at Bridgend Bus Station, Thursday 4 June at Maesteg Market, and Friday 5 June at Bridgend Market.

On 2 June, Blind Veterans UK’s Llandudno Centre, which supports ex-servicemen and women with sight loss, is opening its Woodland Walk.

On 3 June, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) is thanking volunteers for their commitment with a day of complimentary massage and other therapies at Letterston Memorial Hall, Haverfordwest, from 10am to 4pm. Volunteer therapists will be providing treatments including Indian head and back massage, reflexology and Reiki. Lunch and all refreshments will also be provided free. At the same time, PAVS will be holding a volunteering fair, starting at 10am, and the Pembrokeshire Volunteering Awards from 1.30pm.

Also on 3 June, Swansea Council for Voluntary Services (SCVS) is holding its bi-monthly Swansea Volunteer Forum at the Mayor’s Mansion, from 2-4pm. The meeting is for volunteer managers to share best practice and learn about new agendas and policies around volunteer management.

On the same day, disadvantaged people’s support charity The Mentor Ring is holding a volunteering showcase at Sunflower & I studio, café and bar in Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff Bay, featuring an exhibition by Mentor Ring’s sewing class students (11am-3pm), an Indian dance performance by award-winning choreographer Rekha Girish (12.30-1pm), a free buffet (1-1.30pm) and Sunflower Studio-sponsored workshop on flower arranging (1.30-2.30pm).

Thursday 4 June will see Swansea’s EYST (Ethnic Youth Support Team) holding a coffee and cake event for invited guests at its Drop-in Centre from 4-6pm.

Also on 4 June, Portmeirion will be the venue for Mantell Gwynedd’s presentation of Volunteer of the Year certificates and its own local recognition certificates, from 12-2pm, including a light lunch. The event will be hosted by Blaenau Ffestiniog-born opera and classical singer Rhys Meirion.

Velindre Volunteers at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff are staging a ‘Knit & Natter’ event to showcase the additional support from other volunteers and try to get more knitters involved on Friday 5 June, 2-3pm.

On Saturday 6 June, AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham) will be at Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre from 10.30am-3pm, with live entertainment and numerous stalls and side shows from local third sector organisations.

Saturday will also see a ‘marketplace’ at Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd, where Interlink RCT members will have stalls showcasing themselves and their services. There will also be a volunteers’ celebration ceremony in a marquee, from 11am-3pm.

Back at St Fagans, on Sunday 7 June, from 10am-1pm, a friends and family day is being held at the Iron Age farmstead, Bryn Eryr, to thank volunteers for their hard work, with family-friendly Celtic activities and talks, as well as a chance to view Bryn Eryr.

WCVA Chief Executive Ruth Marks said: ‘There are nearly one million volunteers in Wales contributing to the overall value of the sector which last year stood at £3.8 billion. This is equivalent to 8% of Wales’ GDP.

‘Volunteers are the lifeblood of our civil society in Wales. Later this week we will be announcing the names of the winners of this year’s Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards. These, and all our Welsh volunteers, are a real inspiration to us all. It is really important to recognise, acknowledge and thank everyone who gives their time freely and with such passion and commitment.’

For more information please contact Lynne Reynolds on 029 2043 1718 or Jackie Huybs on 07814 070239. WCVA website www.wcva.org.uk