04 June 2003
The United Kingdom is recognizing some 21 million national volunteers to mark Volunteers' Week, which is being celebrated from 1 to 7 June.
This year, volunteer organizations are encouraged to focus on disabled volunteers, coinciding with the European Year of People with Disabilities. Volunteer-involving agencies are publicly recognizing and rewarding the contributions made by volunteers and recruiting some new ones. Last year, some 130,000 volunteers were awarded with certificates of appreciation during the Week.
The Guardian, England's national newspaper, recently announced the winners of the photographic competition portraying volunteers in action, a contest launched in partnership with the country's National Volunteer Centre. The winner shows a young Scout, eight-year-old Thomas Worrall, with a 65-year-old Scout supervisor Kath Hammond in a special moment which "successfully portrays the close interaction between the patient volunteer and the Scout who has special needs", says Eamonn McCabe, the Guardian's award-winning photographer and one of the judges of the competition. "It is a gentle image and shows the trust that has built up between them."
Now on its 19th year, the countrywide celebrations are considered a major event in UK's volunteering sector. Groups and organizations of all kinds and sizes take part in Volunteers' Week -- from companies and charities to hospitals and small community groups.
Winners of the Guardian photographic contest
Initiatives to highlight disabled volunteers