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Minister visits town charities


A Government minister visited two Newark charities to find out more about voluntary work and the difference it makes in the community.

The minister for the East Midlands and voluntary services, Mr Phil Hope, met members of Newark Mind and Newark Emmaus Trust, as part of National Volunteers’ Week.

Newark Mind supports people who have had or are experiencing mental health difficulties, and relies on volunteers who help to provide activities such as cooking and gardening to 120 members.

Mr Hope visited the charity’s London Road headquarters and cooked pasta dishes with members and volunteers.

“I want to encourage people to volunteer,” Mr Hope said.

“There are over 20m volunteers across the country, which is terrific, but we would like more people to get involved.”

He wanted to meet service users and volunteers to assess what could be done to support them in the future.

Mrs Chris Barker (60) of Winthorpe, volunteers at Newark Mind for three hours a week. She mainly helps with the gardening club.

“Volunteering is not a one-way street. It has given me confidence as well as helped the members,” she said.

Two members, Mr Stuart Critchley (58) and Mr Bill Beveridge (52) said Newark Mind gave them a reason to get out and build friendships.

After two hours at Newark Mind, Mr Hope visited the Emmaus Trust’s training centre on Currie Road.

The directors of the trust, which provides housing, training and support for young, homeless people, are all volunteers.

Mr Hope learned about the achievements of people helped by the trust, including a song they had written and recorded, trips they had been on to London and Edale, and life skills they had developed.

He toured some of the accommodation provided.

Gareth Naylor (18) said that in two years at the centre he had learned how to use computers and developed his interest in music.

“The Emmaus Trust has helped me so much. I have been on courses and hopefully will get myself a job from that,” he said.

Lucille Burton (19) helped to write the lyrics to the song.

She said it was great to show Mr Hope how the trust helped to improve young people’s lives.

The trust’s project manager, Mrs Rose Makings, said Mr Hope was impressed with the amount of support.

She said: “I thought he was very good with the young people. He spoke to them all and allowed them to talk about their opinions and express their concerns.”

National Volunteers’ Week, which ends tomorrow, was launched in Newark at a thanksgiving service at Holy Trinity Church, Boundary Road, on Sunday.

The service acknowledged the work of volunteers at Newark Hospital.

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