Mayor Launches Henley Volunteer Network

The Henley Volunteer Network was launched by Henley Mayor, Councillor Michelle Thomas last night at the Town Hall.

The Mayor was joined by volunteers from organisations which included Henley Parkrun, Greener Henley, Henley Lions, St Mary’s Church, Henley Youth Festival and River & Rowing Museum along with a few residents who were looking to volunteer.

Michelle said, “When I joined the Council in 2016 I felt it was difficult to reach out to other volunteers and I know how many organisations in the town rely solely on volunteers.  I think that a network group was tried a few years but it didn’t stick.  I’m going to give it my all over the next couple of years to see if it works.  I think there is a gap in Henley for this organisation.  Volunteering is good for your health; it gets the grey matter going, keeps you fit walking around, and builds confidence amongst other things.”

A Facebook group has been set up and a website will shortly follow.  The group talked about the best ways forward to attract or swap volunteers, how to keep in touch with each other including those that don’t use social media, checks that are now needed for some volunteering and best practices for recruiting and retaining volunteers by being clear on what is expected and time involved.  Small simple posts for specific job was suggested was a good way to encourage people to come forward to start with.  A helpful Frequently Asked Questions giving tips on risks assessments, insurance etc was suggested as an addition for the website.

The Mayor hopes to have a stall at the Be Well Festival taking place on Saturday 3 June which is during Volunteers Week to promote the new network and invited other organisations to join her.  On Monday 8 May, King Charles has launched an initiative, The Big Help Out to highlight the positive impact volunteering has on communities across the nation.  Michelle invited suggestions on what Henley Volunteer Network should do on this day.

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