Welcoming over 40 guests Changing Our Lives hosted its Annual General Meeting and Volunteers Celebrations event on Friday 26th April in the Pink Tank Café in The Public. Recognising the commitment and enthusiasm delivered by our volunteers, this evening was an opportunity to celebrate this and officially thank them.
Starting off with the Annual General Meeting, Changing Our Lives welcomed Adam Hughes, an accountant, who will form part of the management board of trustees. In doing this we said goodbye to Rob Chance who has stepped down from the board. Ron Silvester will remain a vice chair.
Once the AGM was over, the real celebrations could start. In true Changing Our Lives style we started with a quiz, testing the knowledge of our guests around volunteering. Questions included the number of people who volunteer each year, who is more likely to volunteer - men or women, and how much it would cost the economy if people did not volunteer. The quiz was well received and the winners were the 'three girlys' made up of Isabelle Brant, Sarah Bentley and Hannah Reilly.
Volunteers in the organisation play an integral part and we wanted to formally recognise this. We recognised volunteers from the following work streams; parent and family carers, the Patients Council, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Dudley MPs, young leaders with the Young Voices network, Trustees and external fundraisers such as Dave Heeley. Each volunteer was personally thanked and a small speech delivered to recognise his or her unique volunteering skills. A certificate and gift was also presented to each individual.
We were very fortunate to welcome Dave Heeley to speak about the benefits of volunteering and he shared some of his positive experiences of volunteering and the positive impact volunteers have on events, such as the London Paralympics.
Our guests were invited to complete a questionnaire during the evening. It was an opportunity for the organisation to find out about what we do well to support people as a volunteers but also to gather feedback on how we might improve this. Below are some of the comments we received. When asked what we do well, this was the response:
" Guiding and providing support to all people with disabilities"
" Supportive, approachable, consistent"
" A fun and supportive environment to work in. We are made to feel equal and valued"
When asked could be do anything better, again another positive response:
" Nothing, the support is there and we feel respected
" I like Changing Our Lives. They makes you feel like a real person, not someone with a disability"
" Keep up the good work".