Celebrating Our Unsung Heroes

by Bryan Woods

Volunteers week 2023

They give countless hours of their time to many charities – most of which could not function without them. Giving their time and effort, they selflessly help other people and society as a whole. They are our unsung heroes. Now in Volunteer Week (1st June to 7th June 2023), we celebrate and recognise their work.


There is no doubt that the past 15 years have been very challenging. In 2008, we experienced the near collapse of the banking system. There then followed a decade of austerity. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit us. And now we are experiencing a cost-of-living crisis.

Little wonder then that charities in this country have really struggled. They rely on volunteers as never before.

Volunteering has many benefits for the volunteer too. I know this from my personal experience of volunteering for several local and national charities.

Unfortunately, I have not been able to work for the past 11 years due to mental and physical ill-health. This initially left a huge gap in my life. However, I have filled that gap by volunteering.

This has helped me personally in several ways. For example, it has given me the chance to give something back to society. Through volunteering I have also met many new people. This has meant that I feel less isolated, which is important for my mental health and well-being.

Volunteering has also helped to improve my self-confidence. This took a knock after I was made redundant from my job in 2012. At the time I was also suffering from mental ill-health and substance misuse issues. I felt that at the age of 54, I was on the scrap heap. But volunteering gave me back my self-confidence. It gave me a new path in life.

In 2021, I began volunteering with the mental health charity Havant & East Hants Mind. This has given me the opportunity to do some training that has broadened my knowledge of mental health issues.

I believe there is a volunteering role for everyone. We all have skills that can be utilised for the benefit of others. Over the past four decades I have written many articles for local and national magazines. Now I can use this experience to write regular online blogs for Hammersley Homes.

I am pleased to be able to volunteer with Hammersley Homes. The charity does a great job in supporting people who are experiencing ongoing mental health issues. This is something that has been sorely neglected by society.

Hammersley Homes is quite a young charity, having only been formed in 2018. However, it has ambitious plans to expand its services. I believe that with such a great team of staff and volunteers on board those plans will be brought to fruition. So, a big thank you for making such a positive difference to other people’s lives.

And to anyone else who is thinking of volunteering, I would say give it a try. You will not regret it.