A celebration of volunteers with a Picnic in the Park

An afternoon of music, activities and food was held in Malvern's Priory Park to celebrate the work of the district's volunteers.

Malvern Hills District Council, in partnership with Malvern Hills Volunteering, hosted a Picnic in the Park on Saturday, 6 June to recognise the commitment and hard work of those volunteers who enhance and support the life of the district.

Jazz band Groove Front performed on the bandstand while Freedom Leisure, the council's new leisure centre operator, provided some fun activities for volunteers to take part in.

The event was held to mark national Volunteers' Week (1 to 7 June) and was one of hundreds which took place across the UK. Those attending included Malvern Girl Guides,

Malvern Clothing Exchange, and Malvern Hills Conservators.

Cllr David Chambers, portfolio holder with responsibility for localism, community leadership and engagement, said: "Discussions at the biannual Malvern Hills

Volunteering Forum highlighted a desire to celebrate national Volunteers' Week with a social fun event for groups and organisations to welcome their volunteers and show appreciation for all of their hard work.

"The resulting Picnic in the Park was a great success. Within the first five minutes of starting, a voluntary organisation had already recruited a new volunteer."

During 2014/15 volunteers across Malvern Hills District donated more than 2,400 hours of their time.

Some of those volunteers have shared their stories as part of Volunteers' Week.

Natasha Rae-Dean is a voluntary support worker for ARCOS and helps people with their speech and language therapy following a stroke.

Volunteering has provided Natasha with valuable work experience and she has also gained tremendously from the professional training and support that ARCOS has provided.

She said: "The work which ARCOS do is both inspiring and important, and I am grateful to have been able to be a part of it."

Martley parish councillor, Stuart Cumella, uses the skills he gained as a social worker, before his retirement, support people in the community.

Stuart is a Community Liaison Volunteer for the CAB, acting as a local link to advice services for people in his rural area. People will contact Stuart if they need help such as support after coming out of hospital.

Stuart said: "There is a real issue of a growing elderly population requiring support, a diminishing working population to support them, and a weakening of family bonds as children move away. A local presence can provide a point of contact for those needing support."

The satisfaction of helping individuals in distress and the promotion of advice services are the things Stuart highlights as the best part of volunteering. He said it also helped to top up his skill levels and help him to make a difference.

Visit for more examples of the work of the district's volunteers.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer should visit to find a list of the latest opportunities.