2023 Volunteer Celebration

Lighthouse Project Volunteer Awards Oct 2023

On Tuesday 3rd October 2023, as Inspire Middleton, we hosted our third Volunteer Award Celebration at the Lighthouse Project.

The event is organised every 2 years, and it is our way of saying ‘Thank You’ for the amazing amount of support that our volunteers provide to the many different activities and projects running in the centre.

This includes the Lighthouse Project itself, the Pantry, Foodbank, Money Advice Service, walking group, Art and Craft sessions, Photography, workshops, Dial, and much more.

We celebrated the input given by all those those behind the scenes as well as those who have a public facing role. Every person who volunteers for us is valued, and their input makes a significant contribution to everything that we do. We are greater than the sum of our parts.

It’s all about the Volunteers

Without our volunteers we would not be able to do the same amount of work, or get the same kind of results as we do by having them onboard. As a group our volunteers contribute in excess of 12,000 hours of free support each year, which if we had to pay for it would cost us well over £160,000. So, you can see from this that their input is definitely an important part of our capacity, and a collective team effort.

The work that the Inspire Middleton does is all about ’empowering people’, and enabling people to face their challenges, which also includes empowering our volunteers.

Summary of what we’ve achieved together

Normally speaking volunteers may only see a handful of others when they do their ‘shift’, which means that they don’t always see the bigger picture. So, by having everyone together in the same room at the same time it helps give a better understanding and appreciation of the project as a whole.

To give some context and clarity before the awards were given out Carl Roach, one of the charity’s founders, explained that everyone in the room was fulfilling a dream that had been envisioned and started back in 2008. He also gave a brief summary of the projects achievements over the last year just so that the volunteers could see and appreciate how their weekly contributions fits into the bigger picture.

Visits

  • In June 2010 when the Lighthouse Project first opened we saw just 10 people in the first week.
  • Since then we have recorded a footfall of just under 370,000 visits through the doors
  • That’s a lot of loo roll, milk, and tea bags!

Lighthouse Pantry – Running since 2018

  • Currently over 110 families / week
  • 370 families used the Pantry last year with over 4600 attendances recorded
  • Families can save up to £1,000 on their household food bills each year
  • The Pantry needs to source over 1,500 individual items per week to keep the shelves stocked for the family visits
  • Collectively our families received the equivalent of £105,000 of food at estimated retail values.
  • Some of the food used comes from supermarket surplus, and some we have to buy directly.

Middleton Central Foodbank – running since 2014

  • We received, booked in, and stocked over 30 tonnes of food donations
  • We packaged up and gave out 34 tonnes in our food parcels.
  • This is the equivalent of about 34 full-grow dairy cows, or 80,000 meals, valued at over £65,850
  • We gave away 3.25 tonnes more than we received in donations, so, we are having to buy additional food stocks on a regular basis
  • We fulfilled 1,413 requests for food support, for 800 families which included 2,989 adults and children

Lighthouse Money Advice team – running since 2018

  • Helped over 630 people, attending 1900 appointments or conversations
  • Clients had a collective debt of over £1.45 million
  • The team relieved those debts to the tune of £540,000
  • Families were helped to increase their benefits, or reduce expenditure by over £110,000

In other areas:

  • Social and Leisure groups had over 5,100 attendances
  • There were over 5,000 general enquiries at reception, a busy place to be
  • There were over 2,100 visits to computer classes, or to make use of the internet

All of these achievements are a testimony to the collective teamwork of our staff and volunteers!

Awards, and Award categories

On the night there were over 92 awards given our across 9 different award categories. This is an amazing achievement, with some volunteers contributing to a number of areas of work.

The Award categories included:

  • Digital Hero Award – for all things digital and employment support
  • The ‘Come on Over’ category – for hospitality and sustenance
  • Helping Hand Award – recognition for going the extra mile
  • The ‘How do you do’ category – our reception and admin volunteers
  • The DIY SOS Award – looking after practical work
  • The Beacon of Hope Award – practical help and family support
  • The Getting Involved Award – valuable effort and commitment
  • The ‘Part of the Furniture’ category – for long service
  • The ‘Special Recognition’ categories – for individual contributions, including the ‘Patience of a Saint’, and ‘One Step Beyond’ awards.

Special Guest – Steve Coogan

The evening was rounded off by our Special Guest, Steve Coogan, who is patron of the Lighthouse Project. Steve shared something of how he came to be involved with us, and why he is a big fan and advocate for the work that we do.

He encouraged the volunteers and thanked everyone for the outstanding contributions that are made, and were recognised by the evenings awards. The volunteers had their picture taken receiving their awards which were presented by Steve.

At the end we then had a short Q&A session where the volunteers were able to ask Steve about different things to do with his own life and journey into acting and film making.