CHARITIES from across Stratford will be setting up camp in a ‘Volunteer Village’ at this year’s River Festival, raising awareness and looking for recruits.

The special stalls have been organised and funded by Stratford Town Trust, to support organisations working for the community.

The River Festival, organised by Stratforward and attracting thousands to the Recreation Ground each year, takes place on July 1st and 2nd.

The Volunteer Village can be found in the charity area, between the bowling club and Bandstand, throughout both days.

The charities manning volunteer stands are: Stratford Foodbank, Welcombe Radio, WCAVA, Safeline, Stratford District Scouts, Tyler House Community Hub, Citizens Advice South Warwickshire, Heart of England Mencap, Springfield Mind and the Guild Chapel.

All will be running interactive games and activities from their stands – from art activities to a monopoly marathon – while raising awareness for their charities and engaging with local people who may be willing to volunteer their time in a whole variety of roles.

Staff and Trustees from Stratford Town Trust, which awards more than £2million each year to support schools, charities, projects and individuals across Stratford, will also be on hand to answer questions about the Trust and provide information about volunteering in the Guild Chapel.

Claire Bowry, Grants Manager for Stratford Town Trust, said: “The ‘Volunteer Village’ is a chance for us to bring many of the town’s charities together to shine a spotlight on them at what is a hugely popular event, raising awareness and hopefully attracting volunteers to fulfil a huge variety of roles. Without their volunteers, many of these charities would simply not be able to operate – and their work is invaluable.

“It’s a new concept for the Town Trust – and we hope everyone enjoying the River Festival will pop along and have a chat with us, take part in the activities, and get involved.”

Among the activities planned are:

A monopoly marathon and kids quiz, organised by Tyler House Hub

An angel-decorating art activity, organised by the Guild Chapel

Broadcasts by Welcombe Radio

Rachel Key, Hub Manager at Tyler House: Stratford Samaritans Community Hub, said: “Whatever your age, interests and available time, there is a volunteering opportunity that is just right for you, from listening to someone in distress to being a Trustee, from making cups of tea to driving someone to a hospital appointment.  You will meet some great people and enjoy being part of the diverse community of volunteers that makes Stratford a better place to live for everyone. We are so grateful that Stratford Town Trust is helping all the groups that use Tyler House to promote ways that people can help them and their incredible work.”

Di Yeoman, Media and Marketing Officer for Heart of England Mencap, added: “Huge thanks to Stratford Town Trust for giving us a platform at the river festival, to raise awareness and also to look for potential new volunteers.  The support we receive from them really helps to make a difference to the lives of local people with a learning disability, enabling them to take an active role in the community.  Look out for the Mencap Radio team, who will be out and about on the day getting interviews for their show on Welcombe Radio too.”

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