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National Volunteers' Week 2024

07 June 2024

This week we are emphasising the value of volunteering and how that allows us to best support the young people and provide state of the art care, equipment, and services.  

Over volunteer's week we have been highlighting some stories of the volunteers that make up our community while emphasising the importance of Chailey Heritage’s services, like Patchwork Farm. We are spotlighted how volunteers aid the creation of unique learning and social environments in all areas of the Foundation.  

Ree - Collegue Volunteer

An example of Chailey’s way of bringing people together colleagues is Ree! Starting her career as a Hub support worker, she has built up to Team Leader and has been described as always going above and beyond. Over the years, Ree has acquired many names - including “Hub Mum” - yet everyone agrees she is very special!  

As well as working here, Ree volunteers in many areas of CHF. From running LSC sessions to holiday club and fundraising events! She explains how she feels privileged and the importance in helping the fundraising team to keep all the special services within Chailey running at a high standard.  

You will see Ree in many different fancy dress costumes from a rabbit to a Christmas turkey just to put smiley faces on the community and all the young people supported by Chailey Heritage Foundation.  

Volunteering at CHF is unique! From opportunities at the school, events and history talks to lending a hand at Patchwork Farm – moments here make lasting memories

​Ian - Volunteer

Ian has been part of the Chailey Heritage community for over 30 years. He started his volunteering journey with us on weekends in 1991, supporting the young boys at St George’s bungalows over on Chailey common.  

In the late 1990s, Ian volunteered on Brambles bungalow when the school took over the care for residents. Later, Ian retired, moving from his home in London to Haywards Heath to be closer to CHF and increase his volunteering opportunities here.  

Taking on his role as a driver, Ian began accompanying and supporting the young people on activities, while doing so increasing his love and knowledge for the foundation.  

In Ian’s day to day life, he is a passionate researcher and loving godfather to six. His love for history lends itself to our community talks and presentations. These see Ian take Chailey into the wider community as he shares his vast knowledge of our heritage.  

“Chailey Heritage gets me to do things most others would not” says Ian, such as becoming CHF’s Father Christmas. Recently, Ian has supported our holiday club as well as volunteering at many external activities educating others on the unique work done here.  

A lot of our volunteers, like Ian, help across the Foundation in any way they can, but sometimes people will offer their skill sets in a particular area.  

Sharon - Finance Volunteer

Sharon began volunteering for Chailey Heritage Foundation in 2000 after being inspired by hearing others talk about the work done here. Over the years, Sharon has worked in many different departments, starting in the 19+ admin area. For the last few years she has been part of the finance team. Sharon explained how she knew nothing about finance but that’s what kept her intrigued as it differed so much from what she spent her life working in. 

“Wherever I’ve been at CHF, I’ve met wonderful people dedicated to what they do and it’s such a friendly atmosphere to work in. Recently I was able to spend a morning down on Patchwork Farm – who’d have thought bathing a tortoise with a toothbrush could be such fun!” 

Patchwork Farm, one of our many specialist services, is a unique space for the children and young people who access care via the school, Hub or LSC. Lesley, the Farm Manager, highlights how “the farm is an essential part of Chailey Heritage. It provides an opportunity for our young people to learn outside the classroom in a natural environment, supporting learning that takes place in school. Farm sessions are structured to be fun and cultivate individual development. We have had a lot of success here and now we need more volunteers to help us achieve even more.”’ 

Lizette - LSC & Patchwork Farm Volunteer

Lizette volunteers herself while also assisting volunteer Ed down on Patchwork Farm - they are the dream team! Lizette explains; 

I've been volunteering at Patchwork Farm since May 2022 and absolutely love it! It’s a winning combination of being around animals, supporting the amazing young people during their visits and learning new things. There’s a great sense of camaraderie and often much laughter (ever seen a donkey limbo under a 3ft pole?!). I feel immensely supported by Lesley and Turid who are always brilliant at sharing their knowledge. Having been through a challenging time personally at the start of this year, volunteering on the farm has been so good for my mental health. Fresh air, hard work, inspiring young people, limbo-dancing donkeys – what’s not to love?! I highly recommend it and hope I’ll be volunteering at Patchwork for many years to come.”  


Want to find out more about why people  volunteer? Head over to Michael Mosley's BBC Podcast and listen to the “Volunteer” episode. This episode highlights how volunteering, as well as being rewarding for everyone you are helping, can really benefit your health too! 

You can listen via BBC Sounds, or by following this link >>  https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/just-one-thing-with-michael-mosley/id1560369423 

Or to create your own volunteering highlights at here at Chailey Heritage Foundation, head over to our page: https://www.chf.org.uk/volunteering 

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