THE tremendous work of volunteers was celebrated during a special week.

Volunteers have played an essential role within the Denbighshire community over the last year.

Volunteers' Week, which ran from June 1 to June 7, gave a chance for organisations, charities and individuals to recognise those that have made a difference and have made an invaluable contribution.

As part of the week, Citizens Advice Denbighshire (CAD) thanked its volunteers for their tireless support

Citizens Advice Denbighshire

Citizens Advice Denbighshire

In response to the pandemic, The team quickly rallied to ensure as many people as possible could be helped as services saw unprecedented demand.

In the last year, CAD has helped 5,916 people with 8,397 of problems, such as debt, housing, benefit and employment issues.

John Davies, generalist adviser at Citizens Advice Denbighshire has volunteered for more than 20 years, said: “I'm a first language Welsh speaker and retired deputy head teacher, married with two children and two grandchildren, all living locally. I wanted to be part of a team again, learn new skills, and give something back to my community.

“I have an extensive task list sent by managers to contact clients to update their files, enter financial gains for statistical purposes and refer for further advice if necessary.

“At home, I have access to my CAD emails, which I look at most days. I then telephone or email clients as the need arises.

“Following retirement, volunteering gives me a sense of purpose and, during the lockdown, a window to the outside world."

Lesley Powell, CEO of Citizens Advice Denbighshire said: “Our wonderful team of volunteers dedicate their time and skills to ensure that people in Denbighshire can get support in their time of need.

“I’m particularly proud of the immense dedication they’ve shown during this pandemic - with many working from living rooms and kitchens to keep the service running.

“Their dedication and commitment knows no bounds.

"We simply couldn’t do it without them.”

Lisa Jones praised her teenage sons, Sam and Nathan Jones, aged 15, for volunteering at Sense charity shop in Rhyl.

She said: "They were on and off throughout the pandemic and the store is approaching it's first birthday. My husband has also just started there too."

"They enjoy knowing that they are making a difference to a charity, even just working in the shop.

Sam and Nathan Jones volunteer at Sense in Rhyl

Sam and Nathan Jones volunteer at Sense in Rhyl

"They left school recently."

Great-grandmother Chris Davies, who volunteers at Childline Prestatyn, was also recognised and Peter Connelly, 79, who cuts the grass around St Asaph Cathedral every week.

Chris has clocked up about 2,250 volunteering hours since she started volunteering for Childline in 1998 and currently volunteers on the Wednesday afternoon shift.

“I started at Childline because it seemed like fate,” said Chris.

“I was working full-time at the Bank of Scotland at the time but I’d watched a TV programme about Childline, I read about it in the paper and then a flyer came through the door about volunteering.

“Every volunteer has a massive impact as we are often the first person a child or young person has ever talked to about their particular concern. We listen. We do not judge. We empathise.”

Chris pictured with Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen

Chris pictured with Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen

Childline relies on volunteers to keep the service going and the base in Prestatyn depends on around 130 volunteers to help run the service.

It’s in need of adults willing to spare a minimum of 4.25 hours a week to help it be there for children and young people in their moments of need.

Sally King-Sheard, volunteer co-ordinator at Childline Prestatyn, said: "Volunteers are the king-pin of Childline, they play such an important role and they can have such a life-changing impact on the young people they listen to.

“Chris is remarkable, she’s been volunteering with us for over two decades. She has been that listening ear for so many children during that time, selflessly giving her time to listen to whatever it is a young person has needed to share.”

Chris added: “As a volunteer counsellor, you receive more than you give and I would recommend the volunteering experience you get at Childline.

“I am a proud mum of four children, 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, but at Childline we are also like a family. We are close and respectful of one another and I have developed some loyal friends through my role there.”

In a short video on YouTube, the daughter of Peter, volunteer grass cutter at St Asaph Cathedral, tells his story of volunteering.

She said: "When my dad was 14, his family had a falling out with the local church and since then he had no contact with organised religion and it had been that way for about 60 years.

Peter Connelly. Picture: Diocese of St Asaph / YouTube

Peter Connelly. Picture: Diocese of St Asaph / YouTube

"About five years ago, I invited him to attend a Cathedral service with me whilst I was on my own faith journey. He found it so rewarding and enjoyable that he became a regular attendee at the Cathedral.

"One day, the dean Nigel asked him if he would be interested in helping with the mowing at the Cathedral. As you can see, there is quite a lot of grass to cut. He said he would help and he has been doing it every since.

"This is his fourth year of cutting the grass here at the Cathedral. He does it on a weekly basis and he has done it all through lockdown as well.

"He wouldn't want me to tell you this, but I've had permission off the dean, to say that the saves the Cathedral thousands of pounds in cutting fees."