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People who are making all the difference

Under the scheme, Vodafone pays 500 volunteers nationally to work for a charity of their choice, either for two months full-time, or three months part-time.
Also speaking at the event was Falklands veteran and charity fundraiser Simon Weston and the chairwoman of the Samaritans Sophie Andrews, who first became involved with the charity as a service user in her teens.
As ambassador for the World of Difference, Gok Wan described the scheme as “ground-breaking, unique and vital.”
He said: “This is a really simple way of reaching 500 charities in one go.
“Charities need three things: they need profiling, they need money… and they need skill sets.
“What we can do is give them those skill sets, teach them how to sustain their business and what [that] will do in return is help them to raise money.
“It’s vital. Without those volunteers a lot of these charities might go under in the next year.”
Mr Weston said: “Every-thing I have achieved in life has come from volunteering. You can make such a difference. It’s one of the nicest things you can do, to give your time, because time is so precious.
“What difference can 500 people make? A lot, they can really change things.”
This year, seven of the volunteers were recruited from the Vodafone headquarters in Newbury, and among the recipients will be the Newbury Community Resource Centre and Sport in Mind, a charity that runs drop-in sports sessions for those with mental illness in Reading and Newbury.
The planning manager for the scheme, Suzi Pegg, said that more than 10,000 hours have been donated by World of Difference volunteers since it began.
Pictures by Lousie Bellaers Photography.

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