The value of Cats Protection volunteers – and why we couldn't help cats without them.
This post has been written by Julie Meredith, Volunteering Development Manager at Cats Protection
Volunteers’ Week is an annual opportunity for all organisations involving volunteers join together and celebrate the huge contribution and positive impact volunteers make across the UK and around the world. Within Cats Protection we are extremely fortunate to have a long and strong history of volunteering; the charity was started in 1927 by a group of volunteers reacting to injustices they had seen in their community and beyond. Cats Protection has been changing the lives of cats, kittens and people for the better ever since. With our strong history of volunteering we are now looking forward to celebrating the milestone of 10,000 active volunteers across the charity. Who will be our 10,000th?
As a charity whose beneficiaries have their own special way in saying thank you, be it a slow blink, a hearty purr or a friendly head-butt we know that cats appreciate all that volunteers do and in some ways these thank yous mean the most.
Volunteer Yvette at a Fun Day held by North Birmingham Branch to educate children about caring for cats; Credit: Richard Brown
However, it should never go unsaid just how much volunteers are appreciated by others within and outside of the charity too. The thousands of letters, emails and posts on social media we receive from people who are just so happy to have a new feline member of their family, the people we help with neutering, the people we touch through our education work and the thousands of people who support us every day is all down to the people who make it all happen.
I know I speak for colleagues across the organisation when I say just how enjoyable it is to work alongside a group of passionate, committed, skilled and fun individuals. There is never a dull day in Cats Protection and I never really know what will be around the next corner but, I think that is what makes working with volunteers so distinctive and rewarding. One thing I can be sure of however is the unwavering transformation volunteers are and will, for many years to come, make to cats, kittens and people across the UK and for that I am very proud.
Volunteers and staff from Gateshead & District Branch and East Northumberland Branch organised a fundraiser at a local production of Cats
Within any type of organisation it’s not easy to say thank you in a way that means something to everyone (I’m not very good at slow blinking, purring or head-butting) and I know our volunteers don’t do it for the thank yous, but it is important that it is expressed…
Thank you to each and every volunteer who contributes in whichever way they can to change the lives of our feline friends. Without your time, commitment and enthusiasm the world would be a very miserable place for cats and people alike.
We celebrate and recognise the contribution volunteers make to cats and the charity through our Volunteer ‘Special Thanks and Recognition Scheme’ (STARS). The scheme encourages volunteers to tell us about the brilliant work they’ve done – whether it’s rehoming, neutering, education, fundraising or working with other groups to help cats – and in return we offer them a selection of items to help them in their role as a small token of our appreciation. Example items include digital cameras to photograph and film cats in care or events, microchip scanners to identify lost cats and new toys.
If you’re interested in volunteering for Cats Protection, we have a number of different roles available for all kinds of skill sets. Perhaps you’re brilliant at organising events? Or maybe you’re a dab hand at social media? Or maybe you fancy something a bit more hands-on with the cats? Join the biggest cat community in the UK and find an opportunity to volunteer with Cats Protection at www.cats.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering
Corby & District Branch encourages volunteers to role share to feel involved with the wide range of tasks available
If you’ve some great stories about how you or other volunteers have helped cats or would like to take this opportunity to say thank you please get involved by commenting below!
Volunteers' Week, which takes place from 1-7 June 2015, is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make to charities across the UK.
To read behind the scenes accounts of some of our volunteers, read the diary of a teenage fosterer and a day in the life of a cat fosterer.