Charity Celebrates Essential Contribution of Inspirational Volunteers this Volunteers’ Week 01 June 2023 Ukrainian refugee Svita Chernetska (pictured) volunteers with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland to give back to the community that supported her in her time of need. This Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland is celebrating over four thousand inspirational volunteers who support the charity across Scotland, including Ukrainian refugee Svita Chernetska. In the last year, these volunteers spent over 180,000 hours of their time supporting Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland in roles such as retail volunteers, kindness callers, fundraising volunteers, community stroke services, community connectors and many more. Their contribution is worth over £2 million in value to the organisation in a year. Volunteers’ Week is a UK wide campaign that takes place from 1-7 June every year. It’s a time when volunteering involving organisations and groups are encouraged to thank their volunteers, past and present and celebrate and recognise their efforts. The charity is hosting in person and online events for its volunteers across the country, as well as sending thank you cards featuring a poem written by Paula Leask, stroke survivor and community support co-ordinator at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland which highlights the impact of volunteering. Part of the community Svita Chernetska volunteers in Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotlands retail store in Bothwell. The 49-year-old arrived in Scotland eight months ago as a refugee from Ukraine without friends or family. A fashion stylist, buyer and boutique owner in her native Ukraine, she found her perfect role as a retail volunteer. Volunteering with CHSS has allowed me to give something back, but has also given me something too. I feel part of the community, which makes me feel good. She said: “As soon as I arrived in Scotland, I wanted to be useful, to get out and meet people and learn the language, as well as giving back to the country that was supporting me in a difficult time. “I began looking for volunteering roles and was very lucky to find one in CHSS boutique in Bothwell when I walked past the store and saw an appeal for volunteers in the window. “I volunteer in the store twice a week. The staff and volunteers are so lovely. They make me feel welcome and it has been so good for helping me with my English. “The shop is so busy. I love that people in Scotland are excited by buying second hand and upcycling. This is something I was very keen on encouraging people to do back home in Ukraine. “When I left Ukraine, I had to leave everything behind. I felt alone. Volunteering with CHSS has allowed me to give something back, but has also given me something too. I feel part of the community, which makes me feel good.” Thank you Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland Chief Executive Jane-Claire Judson commented: “I want to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. We are so grateful to those who continue to give us their time particularly during the cost-of-living crisis. “Our volunteers are essential to the work we do. Their commitment and dedication to volunteering with CHSS allows us to support the 1 in 5 people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions across Scotland to live their lives to the full. “Their contribution to our charity cannot be overstated. By giving us their time, our volunteers enable us to run our retail stores, support groups, Kindness call service, fundraising events and much more. Quite simply, we couldn’t do what we do without them.” As well as helping others, volunteering is known to have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the volunteers themselves, increasing feelings of wellbeing and connection. Volunteering also enables the volunteer to learn new skills and gain experience which can positively impact employment opportunities. Find out more about volunteering opportunities with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland.