Port Talbot-based Thrive Women’s Aid hosted its first volunteer recognition event to mark National Volunteers’ Week. Recognising the hard work of all of its volunteers, Thrive hosted the event to thank those who make the work they do possible.

The charity invited its team of volunteers who dedicate their spare time to help create safer communities where everyone can live free from domestic abuse, violence against women and sexual violence.

Thrive Women’s Aid aims to support sufferers and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. With its team of volunteers and colleagues it provides high end quality services to improve the lives of both individuals and families affected by abuse.

Many of Thrive’s volunteers are local to Neath Port Talbot and want to be a part of the charity’s mission. One such person is Amy, who is now employed as a Family Support Officer in Thrive’s Families First team, but started volunteering with the charity in December 2019.

Amy explained: “Volunteering is a great way to help a cause you care about, as well as see if you have an interest in pursuing it as a career. During my time as a volunteer, I was able to work closely with domestic abuse survivors in need, whether that was helping people to cook healthy meals on a budget or with the ‘Ask me’ programme.”

Thrive’s ‘Ask Me’ programme helps those who want to learn more about domestic abuse and how they can make a difference in their community. Through challenging unhelpful myths and stereotypes around abuse to helping others find the help they need, it is a scheme that would not be achieved without Thrive’s volunteers.

Amy added: “I would highly recommend volunteering at Thrive, or volunteering more generally, whether it is to gain additional skills for future employment or if it is to give back to the community in your spare time. It’s made a difference to my own life, as well as allowing me to do the same for others.”

Amy moved from her role as a volunteer with Thrive into a paid role within the organisation as a Family Support Officer in the Families First team and was also nominated for an Unsung Hero award from the Neath Port Talbot Council for Voluntary Service.

Liz Downie, new CEO of Thrive Women’s Aid took time out during the event to thank all of those who are a part of the charity and facilitate the work they do. She praised the dedication and hard work of the volunteer team: “Recognising the amazing work that the volunteers do, some of them alongside their own full-time jobs, is so important as without their help Thrive would not be able to do what it does.

“These volunteers make such a big difference to those who use our service, as well as the wider team, as they are that additional support that we all need. They are true heroes in my eyes and so it’s great to hold this event to be able to thank them personally.”

Members of Neath Port Talbot Council were also in attendance with Karen Jones Chief Executive, as well as Saifur Rahaman, councillor for Port Talbot along with Johanna Robinson Welsh Government National Advisor for VAWDASV (Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence).

For more information on Thrive Women’s Aid, visit https://thrivewomensaid.org.uk/ and for more information about the Ask Me project, visit https://welshwomensaid.org.uk/change-that-lasts/ask-me-project/.