Be inspired by these volunteers who take action to help cats...miaow, miaow!!
One of the questions people often have when they think about volunteering is what sort of a difference they can make in a big organisation at a local level. Will their efforts have a real effect and how can their contribution help animals?
Cyril and Marion Phelps celebrated 50 glorious years as volunteers for Cats Protection quite recently. They joined the Great Amwell and District Branch in 1956 and 1957 respectively and have made a difference to hundreds of unwanted cats, many of whom had been abandoned.
In the 50 years they have been volunteering, they have raised a family and held down full time jobs.
Marion Phelps explained that when they first began, they were the only Cats Protection branch in their area and none of the volunteers had a car - nobody could afford it. "We travelled great distances via public transport to collect cats and find them new and loving homes," Marion recalls.
In its Annual Review 2008, Cats Protection reports that 74% of its work is carried out by volunteers. In 2008, the charity re-homed over 55,000 cats & neutered over 150,000. It really needs volunteers to help carry out this work. The charity has a network of 29 adoption centres and 260 voluntary run branches, as well as charity shops dotted about the country. This means that there are always plenty of things to do, whether it is fund-raising (always an opportunity to talk about the work of the charity and raise awareness of its existence), administration, organising local events or home checking.
Jane Smith is 27 and began volunteering for Cats Protection in 2005.
"I joined the charity after being inspired by the Year of the Volunteer Campaign," she says, "and I've filled a variety of roles, including fostering and home checking before becoming the Branch's Publicity Officer.
"It's great to do such interesting work and to be part of a worthwhile cause."