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Joshua Tree celebrates its volunteers
MONEY may be tight in the current economic climate but charities can still find themselves with an abundance of riches.
People are donating time and skills to charities as an alternative to loose change, which proves invaluable for smaller charities like Northwich’s The Joshua Tree.
The Joshua Tree was launched by the Lynda and Dai Hill and their family six years ago after the couple’s youngest son Joshua was diagnosed with leukaemia.
The Hills, who live in Redgate, were given a whole list of things they could not do and places they could not take Josh while he was being treated, which is how they came up with the idea for the charity.
Their aim is to build a holiday home for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to have a free short break in a safe environment – and now they have more than 40 volunteers on their books helping them to achieve their dreams.
These volunteers range from individuals of all ages and backgrounds to businesses.
Stephanie Jones, 31, who co-owns Mood Design Solutions, in Lymm, is one of the charity’s bank of helpers.
“It all started when we decided we wanted to help a charity but were unable to give regular donations of money,” she said.
“We wanted to help by offering our services for free.
“We looked at different charities but The Joshua Tree was closest to our hearts – myself and my business partner are both mums and we would hope that if anything ever happened to our children there would be support and help from a charity like this.”
The company is well into its second year of helping The Joshua Tree, designing items like Christmas cars, flyers, sponsor forms, questionnaires and carrying out social media training.
Steph said: “People think you have to put money in a charity box but you don’t have to – by providing a service you’re helping them because they don’t have to.
“For us I feel it communicates a good message to our potential clients and existing clients that we’re not just a business out to make money for ourselves but want to help other people.
“It’s gratifying to think you’re making a difference.”
Hartford mum Claire McLeish, 40, is another of The Joshua Tree’s regular volunteers.
“I found myself with time to offer because my youngest has just started at school so I started looking at websites where charities are looking for volunteers,” she said.
“I started looking there to see how my skills from my working life would benefit a charity as my background is in marketing and websites.”
Claire has now found herself running eBay sales for the charity and is helping them with the online side of their work.
“It’s fantastic to know you are able to help a charity like this,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter if the time you can offer is a one-off collection or bag-pack or whether it’s on a weekly or monthly basis.
“What’s important is that everyone’s got something to offer, everyone’s got time and skills.”
Lynda Hill, The Joshua Tree’s founder, said: “It wouldn’t happen without our volunteers.
“One thing that has also been really good is that our volunteer base has grown with the charity – as we need new things we seem to get the right people at the right time.
“New volunteers bring fresh enthusiasm too and that really helps.”
For more information about The Joshua Tree visit thejoshuatree.org.uk, ring 01606 331858 or visit the office in Weaver Square.