SUE Dunmore has long been convinced that volunteering benefits volunteers at least as much as whoever they volunteer for.

“Where to start!” she said with a laugh.

“It can be a way of keeping active, it gives you a sense of purpose, a routine – which for some people, if they’re recovering from problems and issues and they’ve not had a routine, can be life-changing for them.

“It can give you skills, experience, something to put on your CV. Most groups are more than happy to provide a reference for you, so for some people volunteering can be a pathway back into employment. Equally, for some people it can be a means of making lifestyle changes – perhaps you are recovering from health or lifestyle issues.

“Volunteering can give you positive connections, a chance to break away from previous lifestyles.

“For some people, especially younger people, volunteering can provide skills and experience that can help with future careers, university applications, doing Duke of Edinburgh Awards, all of that.

“For some people it’s just a chance to go and do something they enjoy, to share their skills, have a cup of tea, talk and make new friends.

“It gives you a chance, for however long you volunteer, to perhaps put some everyday concerns behind you.

“There’s a sense of wellbeing. You can put a better perspective on things.

“If you volunteer as part of a group you can chat with them and friendships will develop.

“There’s a sense that you’ve made a difference.”

Volunteer Centre Swindon, of which she is CEO, is celebrating its 20th year. Sue has been in charge for a decade.

Originally from Plymouth, the history graduate previously worked in roles ranging from product development at a food company to charity shop manager, as well as various volunteer roles.

Working for the volunteer centre gives her immense satisfaction.

“Bar the odd day, there’s never a day when I don’t wake up and think in an excited way, ‘Ooh! I’m going to work!’

“No two days are ever the same. I don’t know whether I’m going to be dealing with organisations, people are going to come in and volunteer, I’m going to be talking to national partners, I’m going to be talking to the media – it could be a whole range of stuff.

“What is wonderful is when you then hear that somebody has gone on to volunteer and had a wonderful time.”

Each year, the organisation helps about 1,500 ad hoc volunteers and up to 5,000 who are taking part in employers’ and employees’ volunteering schemes.

Support comes from an array of sources including Community First in Devizes and the National Lottery Communities Fund.

“The major one, which has gone from strength to strength, is the corporate donations from employee volunteering.

“Our main funders for that are Nationwide, Intel and Zurich.”

There is also support from an employee volunteering network including Swindon Borough Council, Excalibur Communications, Thames Water, Arval, Woven and Vets4Pets.

“We’ve got over 200 local groups on our books who look for volunteers. Sometimes it’s just one volunteer to do one task; sometimes they need numerous volunteers, and it can be anything in between.”

Volunteers take on an array of tasks including charity trusteeship, becoming school governors, working at museums, maintaining historic sites and pathways, support work for the vulnerable and lonely - and more unusual projects.

“A couple of years ago the Swindon and Cricklade Railway had an organised visit of people from Germany. Whoever was going to do the interpreting couldn’t.

“Could we help them find somebody to act as an interpreter for the day?

“We found somebody!”

The Volunteer Centre Swindon website - - has details of how to get in touch by email, phone and social media.

The organisation welcomes inquiries from potential volunteers and organisations interested in using volunteers or learning about employee volunteer schemes.