This volunteers' week, we're excited to launch the first ever Parkinson's UK awards. Based on our values, they're a way for everyone to celebrate the difference volunteers make to people affected by Parkinson's across the UK.
Volunteers Eunice, David, Sarah and Karen are among the many stories that have shaped the awards, and provide some inspiration under each of our values.
Eunice Bond is part of the Cardiff local group in Wales. The dedicated group of volunteers, including Eunice, offer information, friendship and support to affected by Parkinson's in their community.
As Freda Lewis, one of our trustees says:
"Eunice is somebody who always puts people first. She's been a consistent part of the group, there to make a cup of tea, a reliable and friendly face with a willing ear to listen."
Karen McConnell is based in Glasgow and was inspired by her daughter Abby to start volunteering.
She says: "After Abby’s class project on Billy Connolly, where she learned about his Parkinson's, she was inspired to carry out a year of fundraising for Parkinson's UK. She even met the man himself - he was wonderful and spent ages chatting with Abby – she'll remember that day forever. No-one in our family has a direct link with anyone living with Parkinson's, but we’ve been so inspired by the Scottish Parkinson’s community."
Karen's learnt so much about Parkinson's,uniting with others across Scotland to turn Scotland Cyan for World Parkinson's Day just one of her amazing feats.
David Little, who volunteers in Carlisle, is a pioneer for Parkinson's UK, going the extra mile in his community: "I got involved with parkrun 2 years ago, and have raised awareness of Parkinson's in my local running group. As part of the local development team for Parkinson's UK I also want to set up a group for younger people with Parkinson's in my area, and engage others with the condition in exercise activities."
Sarah Smith, based in Birmingham, was driven by the diagnosis of her neighbour and a close friend to learn as much about Parkinson's as she could - volunteering to get involved with our campaigns work.
She says: "Campaigning was completely new but I looked up Parkinson's UK for volunteering opportunities and being a Local Campaign Volunteer felt a natural choice - raising awareness and improving the local area for people with Parkinson's - I really feel I am making a difference."
The ideas, experience, feedback and knowledge of volunteers and staff has shaped the awards - thank you to all who have been involved. With nominations open until September, your views on the scheme would be welcome.
Stephen Hill, head of volunteering says:
"These examples are just some of the incredible stories out there among our volunteers - we know too that many of you have already received external recognition for your volunteering, like the recent Queen's Voluntary Award given to the Swindon Branch of Parkinson's UK - a fantastic achievement. We hope to see many of you nominating those you volunteer alongside for these new Parkinson's UK awards."