DEDICATED volunteers were treated to a lavish lunch to thank them for their hard work.
Mentors from Volunteer Centre Sunderland enjoyed a healthy buffet at The Place in Sunderland city centre.
The group, made up of members of its supported volunteering project, helps people with disabilities and mental health problems to take part in volunteering activities.
Anna Gillingham heads up the National Lottery-funded project, which has been running for three years.
She said: “We support 150 people a year and have 20 volunteers.
“It’s really to try and get them back into society and integrate them, because a lot of them are quite isolated.”
She added: “We wanted to thank our fabulous volunteers. We could not do it without them.
The event was part of Volunteers’ Week, an annual campaign across the first week in June, which celebrates the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
David Curtis, chief executive of the Volunteer Centre in Toward Road, said: “This is a chance to say thank you to our in-house volunteers and all the volunteers for all the work they do for charities across the city.” The centre, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, works with 1,500-2,000 new volunteers every year.
And David is encouraging more people to get involved.
“We can definitely fit round working people. There are even chances for virtual volunteering,” he said.
“It’s not just for older people - we want everybody to get involved.
“You can get experience and improve your CV.”
Every year, more than 20 million people across England and the UK volunteer, donating more than 100 million hours to their communities every week.
It has been estimated that the economic value of this activity is worth in excess of £40billion to our economy.