Big Society Webinar

It was a first for me and a first for the Harrogate and Area Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) too – a “webinar”, an online seminar. Based at the CVS offices at Community House on East Parade in Harrogate, we had a webinar on the Big Society and what it means for our area. I talked about how the government is bringing in policies to strengthen communities by decentralising powers, reforming public services and encouraging social action. We particularly covered the role of volunteering and the challenges ahead.

Many local organisations logged in to participate and I thought the seminar was excellent. It was good to hear from many organisations directly. I had visited some of them in the past, so it was very helpful to hear an update on their challenges.

I don’t think this will be the first and last “webinar”.

If you would like to listen to the “webinar” please feel free to do so at

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Tickled Pink – Asda

I spent the second session of Volunteer Week at ASDA to join in with their fundraising for Tickled Pink, now in its 15th year. The charity itself aims to raise money for two breast cancer charities, Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Campaign.

There was a brisk trade as ASDA customers recognised how important the cause was as we sold over £157 of raffle tickets during the session.

Breast Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK, affecting over 46,000 women in the UK each and every year. Moreover, breast cancer is the most common cause of death for women aged between 34 and 54.

Many people stopped to tell us of their direct experience of facing breast cancer or loved ones lost to it.

Most families will have to face this at some stage, and it is hard. I was keen to support Tickled Pink and in raising awareness for this excellent cause.

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Age UK – Knaresborough and District

I spent the first session of Volunteer Week at Knaresborough’s Age UK day centre Cliff House. I helped out in the day centre all morning, assisting with refreshments and participating in the activities provided by the centre.

It was good to meet the Age UK Knaresborough and District team and speak to all the users. The users had not just come from Knaresborough but Harrogate, Starbeck and surrounding villages too. They could not speak highly enough of the Cliff House team, and how much they enjoyed their visits. Coffee and biscuits, lunch, loads of activities, but what mattered most was seeing their friends and getting out and about. The service provided by the Little Red Bus played an important role for them too.

We also discussed the wider services that Cliff House offer, such as assisted shopping or the bathing, and the users told me how important they are in helping to maintain their independent living.

A thoroughly enjoyable visit. A cracking start to the week.

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Hello and welcome to my Volunteer Week 2011 Blog.

Following the success of my 2010 Volunteer Week I am looking forward to making this years as beneficial to me and the charities and organisations that I will be helping as possible.

This site will allow you to follow me throughout the week as I experience how each of the different charities and organisations benefit our society. By clicking on the tabs you can learn more about each of the charities and voluntary organisations where I will be volunteering as well as my day to day plan of the week.

Once Volunteer Week 2011 has started I will update this blog with my experiences from the voluntary roles I will be occupying throughout the week. I will also be uploading photos into the gallery so that you can see exactly what kind of work I will have been doing for the charities and voluntary organisation.

I hope you enjoy following my progress during the week and I would welcome any comments you may have about the work I did or the charities and organisations I visited.

If you would like to see my blog on the 2010 Volunteer Week please click on this link.

Andrew Jones MP

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