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Launch of Volunteers’ Week 2019

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Launch of Volunteers’ Week 2019

The annual Volunteers’ Week UK 1–7 June recognises the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.  In Northern Ireland, Volunteer Now takes the lead in promoting and encouraging volunteer involving organisations to celebrate their volunteers for all the hard work and commitment they offer.

©Press Eye/Darren Kidd

The theme for this year is ‘Time to Celebrate’ and one person who has good reason to celebrate is ‘Miracle Man’ Anthony Bennet from London, who is helping Volunteer Now launch the campaign in Northern Ireland.   After returning from a school trip to Disneyland Paris in 2006 Anthony fell extremely ill and was rushed to his local hospital. After his x-rays came through, Anthony’s family were told his only chance of survival was to be placed on an ECMO life support machine. During his seven- week stay in Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital he suffered 3 viral infections, was resuscitated 12 times and was given a 10% chance of survival.  He needed to re-learn the very basic functions, using his hand-eye coordination, breathing without the aid of machines, using his voice and learning to walk again. Amazingly Anthony made a full recovery. He then went on to help Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity secure a £7.5m charity partnership, with the funds going towards a brand new wing at the children’s hospital. Now a global inspirational speaker, Anthony continues to inspire audiences around the world and recently addressed more than 300 young Millennium Volunteers at Belfast City Hall.

Denise Hayward, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now, said, ” We are delighted that Anthony is helping us to launch this hugely popular campaign  celebrating those wonderful individuals who offer their time. It is indeed very apt since he was voted one of the happiest people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday in their ‘Happy List’ for the work he carries out to help enrich the lives of others.

There are currently over a quarter of a million volunteers in Northern Ireland who all play a vital role; from volunteer drivers to sports coaches, from hospital volunteers to those working in charity shops.  Volunteers’ Week offers the opportunity to shine the spotlight on these local people and give them the recognition and thanks they deserve.

Volunteer Now has a range of Volunteers’ Week merchandise, on-line resources and ideas available to groups to help them celebrate the week.   For more information visit

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