Talking to Mark, Guild Care’s Volunteer Coordinator Volunteers provide an invaluable contribution in helping us continue to run our 30+ community services. We recognise and greatly appreciate the skills, experience and enthusiasm that they bring. Every single one of our volunteers helps to make a big difference to the people we work with. In his role as Volunteer Coordinator, Mark Phillips is the first port of call for those that kindly give their time to our charity. Asked how he would describe Guild Care’s volunteers in three words, he replied: “Inspiring, impassionate, positive and - I’m going to stretch it to a fourth word - amazing.” Mark Phillips, Guild Care's Volunteer Coordinator Mark was kind enough to talk to us about what volunteers give to our charity, what benefits they get out of doing so, and his favourite things about his Volunteer Coordinator role. If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Guild Care, visit our volunteering page or drop Mark a message via our online form. What drew you to working at a charity and with volunteers specifically? I have worked for other charities in the past; although, I hadn’t worked for a care charity. I had always worked for charities involved with animal welfare, conservation or protection. But I had, in all of my other charity work, been involved with and worked with volunteers and and have always really enjoyed it. It brings me great satisfaction. I find it very pleasurable to see people volunteering and being able to bring their knowledge to a charity whilst developing their own skills. How many volunteers does Guild Care have and what do they do? We have approximately 220 volunteers. What they do ranges from coming in, maybe for an hour or half a day a week, to help put letters into envelopes, to volunteers being able to go out with our community services. So, it’s drawing on people’s various different skills. If they’re retired, it’s drawing down on skills and expertise that people have learned and honed in their previous working lives. For example, in regards to our charity shops, we have a lot of volunteers that come from a retail background. Others have never had retail experience, but they bring to that role the ability communicate well and are able to help customers. For instance, we have volunteers that have been teachers and volunteers that have been members of the armed forces. These individuals are bringing various different skills to Guild Care that enhance the services we can provide to the community. A Guild Care charity shop assistant What’s your favourite thing about working with our volunteers? Each person who volunteers is very, very different. Each volunteer has a whole life behind them, irrespective of whether they’ve just left school, or if they’re still working, or if they’re retired. And it’s that wonderful mixture that volunteers bring that can be nurtured and used to enhance what our charity does. Another of my favourite things about our volunteers is the amazing passion, drive and willingness they have to make a difference to somebody’s life. What are some of the benefits volunteers get from giving their time? You’re able to meet new people and to learn things. You’re also able to bring your knowledge and expertise into a place that they will be appreciated. So, you will get a really good feeling about helping a charity achieve its goals and aims in a way that also fits in with your life. What challenges has the coronavirus outbreak presented? For the last few months, the coronavirus has stopped Guild Care being able to utilise the vast majority of our volunteers, due to age, health conditions, and the potential that volunteering may have put people in environments where they are more at risk. Although, I’m actually contacting volunteers that are now, following the government’s criteria, able to return to our charity shops, which are soon to reopen. The responses I’m getting from people are wonderful! They can’t wait to get back into the shops – supporting, helping, and really doing a good thing for the charity they love. How can people get involved with volunteering now? There are two areas that we’d really like more volunteers for now. Those are our shops, which are reopening on Monday 15th June. We have 11 shops and need more volunteers in those shops. Likewise, we need more volunteers placing and coordinating collections tins. If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Guild Care, visit our volunteering page or drop Mark a message via our online form.