Volunteers underpin the work of FORCE

It’s National Volunteers’ Week and FORCE has revealed the latest figures about the value of time given freely given by our supporters.

In 2015 volunteers racked up more than 19,450 hours for our charity, which offers face-to-face support to anyone locally affected by cancer.

That’s worth an estimated £125,000 – a vital contribution to an organisation that offers all of its services free of charge, receives no Government funding and needs to raise £1.2 million every year to maintain them.

FORCE provides help for patients, their families and friends at its Support and Information Centre, funds a local research programme, buys high-tech equipment to enhance patient care at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital and runs weekly outreach sessions in Okehampton and Tiverton.

We are lucky enough to have more than 120 regular volunteers and FORCE Chief Executive Meriel Fishwick said today: “Without them we would not be able to offer the level of support we do. Their selfless contribution underpins our commitment to fund research, purchase equipment, run our Support Centre, offer help at the RD&E and at our outreach service locations, in our award-winning shop and at fundraising events.”

Volunteers’ Week (June 1-12) is an annual celebration and an opportunity to say thank you to more than 21 million people who volunteer in the UK at least once a year, contributing an estimated £23.9bn to the economy.

Volunteers at FORCE annually contribute:

  • 7,000 hours in the Support and Information Centre
  • 4,000 hours in the RD&E Oncology snack bar
  • 7,300 hours in the charity’s shop
  • 750 hours plus of complementary therapies
  • 400 hours at outreach

In 2015, 250 people also volunteered to help at FORCE fundraising events.

“If these hours were paid at the minimum wage it would cost our charity at least £125,000 per year – that’s the cost of running our Support Centre for more than six weeks,” said FORCE Volunteer Manager Naomi Snook.

Last year more than 21,000 people visited the FORCE Support Centre where seven oncology support specialists delivered 2,719 counselling sessions. Support groups attracted 8,000 people and a benefits advisor working with the charity had 555 appointments filled with a predicted award of £941,000.

FORCE also funds £70,000 of research annually and last year spent or allocated more than £200,000 on state-of-the-art equipment.

If you’re interested in volunteering at FORCE, contact Naomi Snook on 01392 406154 or naomips@forcecancercharity.co.uk