Today’s Star columnist: David Blunkett MP

David Blunkett
David Blunkett
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Where would we be without them – a chance to meet and thank volunteers?

Next Monday, Parliament returns from the summer recess. For part of this time, many of us take a family holiday. I look forward to it but am not unmindful of the fact that for many of my constituents in Brightside and Hillsborough, holidays away are out of the question. They may get a day or two at the seaside which is what I knew as a child, with my mum and dad in Skegness. I also remember when the city taxi drivers united to take us youngsters from what was then Tapton Mount School for the Blind, to Cleethorpes.

But actually, the summer recess is the time for catching up on correspondence and emails. It is also the time when MPs are able to do things in the constituency that they are unable to do when they are down in London during the week, holding advice surgeries at weekends, catching up with community groups and sometimes dealing with crisis events in the locality.

This summerI was pleased to join in the awards and celebration of young people, aged 16, who had taken part in a scheme called National Citizens’ Service.This is a good scheme, which is why I have joined the National Board of NCS. Youngsters from a range of backgrounds come together, not only volunteering but learning about themselves and working with other young people. The Sheffield youngsters who have given their time during the three-week course, have come out wiser and more mature.

I also enjoyed Sage Green Fingers allotment group’s open day, based on Grimesthorpe Road. This group is not just about people growing vegetables. Over the years, many with emotional or mental health challenges have been helped by coming together, talking and enjoying the tranquillity gardening brings, as well as the satisfaction of growing affordable and enjoyable food.

There is no doubt that without those willing to give their time to others, our world would be a worse place. My role? While I speak and write about volunteering, it is always more rewarding to attend these groups and express appreciation for all that volunteers do, as well as motivating them to carry on doing it.