Reflecting on the Suffolk Show during Volunteers Week

For us, this time of year is such a positive one – a time to celebrate and to thank lots of people and organisations. Every year we take a stand at the Suffolk Show and, every year, we meet the biggest bunch of fabulous people all with such drive and enthusiasm for our services and for volunteering – here’s where we reflect on this year’s show and report on it during such an important week for us, as a charity.

Barry Dye with Caroline, Lisa and Megan of ACT Our first thank you must go out to Barry Dye Entertainment – every year Barry and his team provide us with our marquee and the furniture in it. Barry goes beyond expectation every year to make sure that our show’s a success – thanks Barry.

Our team also deserve a massive thank you – this year we had 10 members of staff working each day at the Suffolk Show and, as you can see from the pictures, we all got into the swing of the event! Michelle and Nicola doing a selfie, Megan face painting many of the countless faces over the course of the two days, Lisa collecting our prize tickets from Easton Farm Park (more about prizes later), and Batman (aka Jonathan) posing in front of our volunteering stand.

Most importantly, we want to thank all of you who visited our stand, who took part in our competitions, who had your faces painted, who drank tea and chatted. We were delighted to be able to impart so much information about our services and give information on volunteering to those of you who were interested. It’s always great for us to have some of our current volunteers on our stand so that they can explain what volunteering’s like for them – this year we had volunteer pledges from a record number of people … a great thing to be able to report during Volunteers Week.

Have you planted your sunflower seed yet?

With Russian Giant sunflower seeds donated by Thompson & Morgan, we launched a sunflower growing competition at this year’s show. One of the volunteering opportunities that we offer for young looked-after people is our Independent Visitor role. We wanted to have an activity on our stand that reflected something that you could do with your young person should you be an independent visitor and, what better than to grow something – especially in our peat-free compost and biodegradable pots. We’ve had lots of entries and, in order to enter, we’ve asked people (over 18s), to post on social media pictures of their growing, and fully-grown sunflowers by 31st August mentioning @angliacaretrust either on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and using #ACTSunflower in their post. We need to see evidence of the height in your picture with the winners receiving family tickets to Easton Farm Park – kindly donated by them.

Has your bag travelled the furthest?

We gave away bubbles (with refill instructions), and bottles of water this year, as well as our duffel bags. Our bags are massively handy for all kinds of things – kit bags, swimming bags or, tucked-in-your-handbag spare shopping bags. One of our trustees happened to mention that he found his really handy when he was on holiday for wet towels… that made us think – if our trustee took his bag on holiday, where in the world do ACT duffel bags travel? So we launched our ‘furthest travelled bag’ competition. We had lots of entries at the show – once again, we need evidence of where your bag’s travelled together with #ACTbag in your social media post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to @angliacare trust by 31st August. The Winner receives 2 free tickets to our charity ball on 15th November and, with our first ball under our belts last year, we know this one will be a night to remember…. more news in our next post.

donationsWe’d finally like to thank all of you that made voluntary donations to our Empowerment Fund. Those of you whose children were painted with rainbows and flowers, with spidermen and dinosaurs and many, many other things; those of you who enjoyed a cuppa or who took away free merchandise and information and decided to make a donation, we are truly grateful. Our empowerment fund is used as ad hoc expenses to provide many, many things for our service users: it may be clothes for an interview for an out-of-work young person receiving employment advice; it may go towards appliances for newly-housed victims of domestic abuse; it may be travel expenses to court for users of our money advice service or furniture for a family of refugees – all things that aren’t part of a funded service, but that are nonetheless vital to the vulnerable people that we support. So, thanks once again to you all.

And finally…

If you’d like to make a donation to our empowerment fund, please click here

If you’re interested in volunteering, click here

And, if you’re a business that would like to get involved in corporate volunteering, please get in touch: [email protected] / 01473 622888

Follow us on social media and stay up to date with all of our latest news and events: @angliacaretrust