Eureka column: We love volunteers!

Volunteer Natalie working in the Eureka! Gift Shop with Enabler Aisha Shaffiq
Volunteer Natalie working in the Eureka! Gift Shop with Enabler Aisha Shaffiq

Hands up who has volunteered for someone, something or somewhere. Yes? No? It’s surprising just how many people have.

Everyone has been a volunteer at some point, perhaps without even realising.

It can be something you do for five minutes ‘Anyone fancy making a cup of tea?’, to helping a mate move house, to rolling up your sleeves to support major events such as the amazing people who took buckets, brooms and brews to help out following the devastating 2015 Boxing Day floods in Calderdale.

People volunteer for different reasons.

Some people want to make new friends or learn new skills, others want to enhance their career prospects or give their time for a cause they believe in.

Volunteers at Eureka! are no different, they all have their own reason for getting involved at the Museum.

One guarantee at Eureka! is that every day offers a playful and rewarding experience.

So, just how popular is volunteering in the UK?

The Government’s Community Life Survey is held annually to track trends and developments in areas that encourage social action and empowers communities.

Statistics from the 2015-16 survey showed that 41% of people questioned reported volunteering formally (i.e. through a group, club or organisation) at least once in the previous year in England.

A quarter (27 per cent) said they took part at least once a month (‘regular volunteers’). If the survey results are extrapolated to the UK population as a whole, this would produce an estimate of 21.6m people formally volunteering at least once in the last year, and 13.8m people formally volunteering regularly.

Incredible figures!

Here at Eureka! we know just how important volunteers are to our success - bringing with them new skills, knowledge and experience that adds incredible value to our organisation.

Volunteers have supported us in many ways over the last 25 years, doing everything from painting exhibits, supporting our nursery, to helping in the gift shop and engaging with visitors.

We’ve even had someone dressed in a giant hotdog outfit clearing weeds and trees in our grounds!

Our 25th anniversary this year is a perfect time to launch new ways of engaging with volunteers, eventually leading towards the development in the longer term of a sustainable, organisation-wide programme which reflects the diversity of our community.

Over the next few months, we’ll be advertising some new exciting opportunities for volunteers to get involved at Eureka!, starting with supporting the brilliant new digiPlaySpace exhibition opening in July.

We’d love your support, and if you have something else in mind there are lots of other opportunities to contribute locally, boost your CV, meet new people AND have fun.

Organisations like Voluntary Action Calderdale will be able to point you in the right direction, or have a look at the website www.do-it.org to search for some opportunities a little bit farther afield.

Whether you can spare five minutes or five hours a week, there will be a volunteering opportunity for you.

So why not get out and really make a difference?