National Volunteers' Week 2016

A woman volunteering in a Sense shop; fundraising volunteers at an event; Two volunteers with a young girl on a Sense holiday

Volunteers' Week 2016 1-12 June graphicNational Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1 to 12 June 2016.  This year there are an additional five days enabling more people than ever to take part and celebrate.  

The end of Volunteers’ Week will also coincide with the Patron’s Lunch on 12 June, a celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s lifetime of service to more than 600 charities and organisations to which she acts as a Patron. The day will also mark The Queen's 90th birthday.

National Volunteers' Week is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate and thank the 2,000 amazing people who volunteer with Sense each year.

Volunteering in the UK

Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year and this contributes an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy.

Sense has a long history of involving volunteers – in fact it was set up a little over 60 years ago by a group of families working together with the equivalent of just £48!

Volunteers are still very much valued by Sense. Not only for the time, energy, extended networks, skills and fresh perspectives they bring, but also for the unique atmosphere they create.

"Over the past 12 months, volunteers have donated thousands of hours to Sense – in our shops, on our holidays, helping our services and getting involved in community fundraising."

Sense recognises that involving people who are there purely by choice, and with no expectation of payment, can add value and complement the existing work of staff, and lead to greatly enriched services.

Group of men and women fundraisers smiling in front of Sense banner

There are also some roles that can only be undertaken by volunteers, due to the independence, authenticity or quality of relationships that people not being paid can bring.

Over the past 12 months, volunteers have donated thousands of hours to Sense – in our shops, on our holidays, helping our services and getting involved in community fundraising.

By connecting the fantastic enthusiasm, commitment, knowledge and expertise that so many people offer Sense, we have a real opportunity to reach – and to make things happen for – more deafblind people and their families in the future.

Volunteers' Week Stories

Throughout National Volunteers' Week we’ll provide a snapshot of our volunteering activity, offering a glimpse into the life of the staff and volunteers who make our work possible. Bookmark this page and come back every day for a new story.

Day 12: A big thank you

One way we thank volunteers is through our annual Sense Awards. Read more about the awards.

Day 11: Volunteering opportunities at Sense

This National Volunteers' Week, here are some of the ways you can volunteer for Sense and learn about future opportunities.

Day 10: How volunteers are vital to Sense's Arts and Wellbeing projects

How volunteers help our Arts and Wellbeing team deliver new and existing projects to support people who are deafblind.

Day 9: How Sense's Legal Support Service uses volunteers with specialist skills

Sense's Legal Support Service offers legal advice and assistance to deafblind individuals or their family members and supporters.

Read how our Legal Support Service relies on volunteers with specialist skills in order to meet the growing demand for services.

smiling woman

Day 8: How volunteering develops new and existing skills

Beth talks about how she used her Speech and Language Therapy skills as a volunteer on a Sense holiday.

Read about how Beth developed her skills and gained experience as a volunteer.


Day 7: How volunteers make all the difference with Sense Events

In the Sense Events team, we rely on volunteers throughout the year to make sure our sporting events run without a hitch.

Sense volunteers make a huge difference to our participant’s events experience, and this was never more evident than at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon.

Read about how you can volunteer at a sporting event.

Day 6: We need more men! More male volunteers wanted for Sense holidays and short breaks

As part of National Volunteers' Week, we're looking at various aspects of volunteering across Sense. One of the current issues is Sense needs more male volunteers on our holidays, short breaks, and care-based roles.

Read about how Sense needs more male volunteers.


Day 5: Get Out There (GOT) Groups allow young people to experience the outdoors

GOT supports young people with sensory impairments and additional needs to access a range of activities in the local environment. Volunteers are a huge part of GOT as their commitment and dedication ensure the service delivers to an extremely high standard.

Read about our GOT Group Cornwall and their adventures.

Day 4: Sense branches bring people together

Branches are groups of people who are interested in deafblindness and other associated disabilities who come together to offer each other mutual support.

They can campaign for services and the needs of deafblind people, share information, experiences and ideas and have fun socialising together. Branches fundraise for their own activities, but benefit from the help and advice of Sense staff. Find out more about our countrywide Sense branches.

Volunteering in Tower Hamlets

Day 3: Volunteer opportunities in Tower Hamlets

This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate one of our newest volunteering opportunities; our Buddying and Holiday Clubs in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Find out how you can volunteer and take part.

Day 2: Friendships form over Sense charity shop's jazz collection

Volunteer Alex Charlesworth takes great pride in managing the books, DVDs and CDs donated to the Sense shop in Tonbridge. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed: jazz fan Arthur Ellis got in touch with Sense to tell us how impressed he is with the shop’s selection of music. Read more about Alex and Arthur's volunteering story.

Smiling boy and man

Day 1: Holidays are coming

Each year Sense supports up to 300 children, young people and adults who are deafblind, have multi-sensory impairments or complex health care needs on our national programme of short breaks, holidays and weekend events. Find out how you can volunteer on a Sense holiday.


First published: Thursday 26 May 2016
Updated: Friday 10 June 2016