Sunday, 26 September 2021

Charities urged to support volunteer fair

CHARITIES and community groups have been urged to support the volunteer fair in Henley.

The fair, which is held twice a year, is organised by Henley Town Council to help organisations recruit volunteers.

However, at the latest fair in Market Place on Saturday only nine groups had stands.

Nicci Taylor, the council’s senior committee administrator, said she was “disappointed” at the number.

She said: “There wasn’t a great uptake and there wasn’t a great number of people around. Only nine turned up out of the hundreds of groups in the town. If it isn’t a busy day in town then we don’t get people coming to the fair.”

She said the council would continue to run the fair but needed to rethink how to attract more people. “We have done what we can to promote it but we need some more people interested to make it worthwhile,” said Mrs Taylor.

“The first fair had about 22 groups and it is obviously more vibrant when there are more people around. It is quite a niche market so we need to have a think about how to make it more exciting.” Among the organisations present on Saturday were the Henley HandyBus, which was displaying its new £60,000 vehicle.

The minibus features scenes of the town designed by Ben Hargreaves, of Henley design company in8. Phil Perry, chairman of the Henley HandyBus, said: “The bus looked great and we had nothing but positive comments. We handed out about 10 application forms and we were very pleased with that.”

The Henley branch of the Royal British Legion recruited seven volunteers, including five Poppy Appeal collectors.

Branch secretary Stan Ainsley said: “We got a lot of people thinking about the appeal and we had lots of children coming to visit our booth, which was nice. It would be nice to see more people because it would be good for the event generally.”

The Henley Society gained one new member and committee member Emma Abbott said: “The footfall wasn’t very good but for the groups who did go it was good.”

Other organisations included the National Trust, Sue Ryder, Latitude Global Volunteering, Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action, Age UK and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

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