VOLUNTEERING is an opportunity for many people to share their passion with others and bring them joy into the bargain.
Keith Johnson, far left in the picture above, is a keen cyclist who decided to harness his enthusiasm for two wheels by supporting the fledgling Cycling Without Age charity in Weymouth two years ago.
Before he knew it he had become a trustee of the group as it raised money for a Trishaw, a three-wheeled bike on which the ‘pilot’ does all the pedalling and steering on a seat behind two passengers at the front.
The charity is one of a number of ‘chapters’ all over the country and now has two of the £8,000 bikes in Weymouth, one on Portland and another one due in Bridport soon.
“I love cycling, I commute by bike to the school in Dorchester where I teach PE and have done so for the past 20 years,” he said.
“This is a way of sharing my passion and using it to get people out and about.”
He volunteers every Tuesday and Friday, taking out people of all ages, those with disabilities and those diagnosed with dementia.
“There are a lot of people who are just stuck indoors and don’t really go anywhere so it is nice to see them experience being on the trishaw,” he said.
The group has links with the dementia café run by the Salvation Army in Weymouth as well as disability group Ridgeway Plus.
There are a lot of people who are just stuck indoors and don’t really go anywhere so it is nice to see them experience being on the trishaw
“I had two gentlemen who had quite advanced dementia and I was wondering what would happen,” said Keith. “But one of them just started talking to the other about where he worked in Weymouth and pointing places out as we went along, it was just a lovely moment.”
The group also gets phone calls from families and individuals who want to experience the exhilaration of being out in the open air.
“Weymouth seafront is just a great place to ride with the views and the sea air. People love being out there,” said Keith.
He said being able to give something back and share the thrill of being on a bike is what keeps him volunteering. “It is very rewarding and you get so much from it,” he said.
Volunteers’ Week is supported and celebrated by small grassroots organisations as well as larger, household-name charities, who together run hundreds of activities across the UK. These activities showcase and celebrate volunteers and the contribution volunteering makes in our communities.
Volunteers’ Week 2021 is a time to say thanks. It goes without saying that volunteers have played a key role in the pandemic response. During an exceptionally difficult year, people from all walks of life around the UK have taken the time to volunteer and make a huge difference to their communities – just as they do every year. This is a time for us to come together and thank all volunteers for their invaluable contribution.
This 37th annual Volunteers’ Week is taking place during the #MonthofCommunity. Running throughout June, #MonthOfCommunity brings together organisations with a range of events in order to encourage us all to think about and join in with activities happening in our local communities.
Find volunteering opportunities in Dorset here or in the BCP area here.