At Fine Cell Work, we are grateful for all the minutes, hours and days that our volunteers generously give to the charity. Without them, we would not be able to support our service users in such a meaningful way.
Our volunteers support us in a multitude of different roles. Some use their talents in stitching to run our prison cell groups, teaching over 600 prisoners to stitch our beautiful products every year. A stitcher told us that one of their favourite things about Fine Cell Work is "handing over work to volunteers at our fortnightly meetings. They make me feel proud of every piece I have completed as they always give such encouraging feedback".
Without the commitment of our prison volunteers, we would not have the capacity to work with so many prisoners each year. The fact that their teachers are all volunteers is very important to our stitchers, as it increases their self-worth to know that someone has chosen to give up their time to help them. Another stitcher adds "the volunteers are vital to harvesting a supportive community within the cell groups. They really help focus the class and help us engage. It helped me with my mental health and with feeling of isolation that are inherent in the prison system."
In our London-based Hub, our dedicated Tuesday team of volunteers take on the vital role of making up kits to be sent into prison, ready to be stitched. Elsewhere in the Hub, volunteers are helping ex-prisoners (apprentices) to finish off cushions and commissions, charting new designs, providing mentoring to apprentices and admin support to our staff. They are an integral part of the warm and supportive atmosphere that we have created at the Hub and they are extremely valued both by staff and our apprentices.
Throughout the year, we hold many events with the support of volunteers to raise awareness and money for the charity. Whether they are hosting a sale in their home, or manning a stall at an exhibition or shopping event, we rely on the help of our amazing event volunteers to make sure that these occasions are fully staffed and running smoothly. Volunteers have also been instrumental in the success of our Pimlico Road pop-up shop over the last two years, putting their sales skills to use selling our beautiful items on one of London’s most prestigious streets.
So this Volunteers' Week we want to say a massive thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers, we could do not do this without you!