During the pandemic about one in five adults volunteered. You might even be one of those who helped to create the surge in volunteers! You might also be one of the many women who volunteer on a regular basis. Certainly, around this area there are many amazing volunteers who give their time. Mostly they are not looking for rewards, promotions or anything else. They simply want to make a difference even though they don’t have time!
With International Women’s Day in mind we decided to celebrate some of those fantastic volunteers. Read down to find out about a few of these incredible women.
Did you know that as a woman you were significantly more like to have tried to help your friends and community during the pandemic?* IPSOS MORI.
In fact, in normal circumstances, women are more likely to volunteer than men! They are also more likely to be working on or economically inactive. Women also seem to volunteer for the slightly less high profile roles – caring and support. Men you are more likely to get involved in sport and politics!
Jean Kelly Loves her Work with the RSPCA
Jean has volunteered for the RSPCA for the past 18 years. I still remember the day she called me to ask if we would be willing to publish an article for them. That was all the way back in March 2012. The story sent out a request for people to rehome rabbits. Ever since, Jean has supplied up information about the RSCPA.
How her Journey Began
She began her journey with the RSPCA because of her love of cats and she wanted to meet new people. How could you not love a cat!? Over her time with the RSPCA, however, it became more than loving cats. She gets a real buzz from making a massive difference to the lives of 1000s of cats and small mammals. Rabbits and other similar mammals remain in high need of care.
It’s Not All Cuddles
While you may think cuddling the animals is the only part of the job! But, there is the other side – the cleaning. Cats don’t always appreciate that we would prefer them to use to box! Equally, there are times when they can’t hold on! Yet, every Sunday morning Jean gets up and goes over to the cat pens to clean them. She doesn’t get a lie-in, having enjoyed a Saturday night out in non-covid times! Poor Jean is religiously there, cleaning up after often poorly cats have emptied their tummies in the wrong place.
What She has Learned
Despite this, we asked her what she would do differently if she was to start volunteering now – her reply was simple. “I’d have started to volunteer sooner!”
As with most volunteers, this woman doesn’t stop even though she probably knows ‘I don’t have time!’ Along with her work for the RSPCA, Jean also tap dances and works full-time. Her full-time work is as Head of the Hair and Beauty Charity. What has she learned? We aren’t sure she can really answer but we’ve learned that she has non-stop energy and a commitment to making a difference.
To find out more about the incredible work the RSPCA and The Hair & Beauty Charity provide click below:
Judy Deveson Chair of Stony in Bloom
I’m not sure what Stony Stratford would do without Judy Deveson. Everyone who meets her knows exactly how valuable her volunteering contributions are.
How it all Started
It started thirteen years ago when she thought the perennial beds around Stony Stratford looked a little ‘down-at-heel’. She also believed that the town could look more cheerful with one or two colourful flowers around the place. At the time she was a Town Councillor and so she mentioned it to the clerk.
The clerk invited a local regional judge to discuss an entry to the Britain in Bloom competition. The judge explained that the In Bloom project is all about Community and Sustainability as well as making the town look beautiful. After contacting one or two people who were in the horticultural know-how, Stony in Bloom was up and running.
What She Loves Most
Like many others who volunteer, Judy loves the difference her contribution makes. Of course, as she says the important part is working with other volunteers. As a group, you can make the impossible achievable and see results. Passers-by who frequently comment on how much they love the work by SSIB always brings a smile to Judy’s face. Having said this, through volunteering Judy has made a great number of valued friendships.
It’s interesting that most of the volunteers are women, even though they probably don’t have time!
Apart from gardening in the town, Judy also loves working in her own garden and allotment and when Covid allows her gardening sessions with children at the school.
The Dreaded Challenges
Judy’s biggest challenge in her volunteer work is her ability to say ‘NO’ or rather to not say ‘YES’ to everything! Those who know her will recognise her incredibly positive nature. She is also someone who somehow has the ability to keep going no matter what. Her endless energy is truly infectious. With this comes an ability to prevent any form of conflict, somehow she gets everyone on board. We think there are one or two politicians who could learn from her!
Her other challenges, aside from removing couch grass and drought-management, are reaching the people who would like to get involved but perhaps don’t know how to.
What She Knows Now
When Judy started volunteering, we are certain that she had no idea how much a part of her life being Chair of Stony in Bloom would be. She has learned so much and drawn on the skills of so many others. From the treasurer and those with horticultural knowledge to designers and of course, IT specialists, everyone has contributed to make it happen! She knows the importance of communities uniting.
Aside from her work with SSIB, there is little surprise when you know that Judy is also writing a novel! Bodley Head have already published 2 of her novels for teenagers and a couple of short stories in anthologies. She is now waiting for that break through that will see the positive comments from agents become a reality.
If you hear Judy say ‘I don’t have time’, we think she is justified!
To find out more about click below