Volunteers' Week at Ataxia UK

By James Atkins, InControl Manager

Everyone across the UK has faced some unexpected challenges this year. For myself, having joined Ataxia UK in January for the InControl project, I have had to readjust our initial plans. As we are all in lockdown, we can’t meet in person for some time to come. This is especially relevant for the ataxia community, who could be shielding at home for a considerable future.

But even in this difficult time, I have been humbled by our volunteers and their ongoing commitment. Our Branches and Support Group volunteers have been setting up Zoom meetings and also staying in touch via phone. Our recently recruited Telephone Befrienders are offering their time to speak to people in need of a chat and our Media Ambassadors are writing about their experiences of ataxia.

We even have volunteers supporting our weekly activity programme, bringing their interest and passion to speak to people all across the UK. These sessions wouldn’t have been developed if it hadn’t been for the restrictions of lockdown.

Like many people working in volunteer management, I was a tad concerned that the interest in volunteering would lessen due to lockdown. But as the huge interest in the NHS Call Out shows, the opposite is true. People across the UK want to help in any they can and it is up to charities to ensure we provide the right opportunities for people to do this.

As part of our wide range of activities for Volunteers' Week, we are running an open event for people to learn more about volunteering with Ataxia UK. Anyone is welcome and we aim to showcase some of the great work from our volunteers. This is scheduled for Thursday 4 June from 2pm and you can access the session through the link here.  

Finally, I wanted to say a huge thank to all the volunteers who devote their time to Ataxia UK to support thousands affected by ataxia. We wouldn’t be able to do all our work without your continued support.