The impact of volunteering in 2018
This year volunteers have put Parkinson's on the agenda at party conferences, turned towns Cyan in the name of raising awareness, and helped bring our self-management programme online.
As 2018 draws to a close we share some of the stats behind your volunteering and the stories that show the difference you make. Take Stirling Pedal for Parkinson's - volunteers powered smoothie bikes to create more than 100 drinks to keep cyclists fuelled up at the Scotland event. And, in 2018 more than 1500 bananas were dished out by volunteers across the UK to help 12,000 athletes cross the finish line.
Volunteers vital in education
It's been a marathon year for education volunteers too. An incredible 2578 professionals now have a better understanding of Parkinson's thanks to the volunteer-led presentations of the Parkinson's UK learning programme, like those delivered by Barry, Christine and Margaret.
"We love being Volunteer Educators for Parkinson's UK and being part of a charity, we've grown to admire and respect. The experience is rather like being part of a cabaret or a floor show, as both my fellow volunteers share their day to day life of living with Parkinson's, alongside the key messages we want to get over about this very complex condition.
"Many of the care staff we meet know very little about Parkinson's and we are struck by their thirst for knowledge, their interest and the passion they have to give residents the best care they can. Although it is immensely satisfying to know we are helping to educate staff, we want to know if people with Parkinson's receiving care also notice a difference."
Impact felt in all areas
When it comes to the activities run locally, the difference is certainly being felt. From art to archery, volunteers are vital to running more than 1000 local activities for people affected by Parkinson's – an incredible 87% of all the activities we run locally.
John, who attends a Parkinson's dance class run by his local group in Peterborough, attests to the impact the activities make:
"I get a lot of benefits from the class. It takes away the stress. I enjoy every session we do, you can do it at your own pace, no one pushes you into anything you don’t want to do. I think everybody with Parkinson's should give it a try."
Stephen Hill, Head of Volunteering, says:
"There are plenty more examples of the difference every one of you makes, and as we head into 2019, we'll be sharing more stories."
"You've told us you'd like to see more from volunteers in Parkinson's UK communications. So, in 2019 we'll be working hard to do this and we always want to hear from you."
If you have something to share please get in touch with the volunteering team.