Anne Lyall 2


At the close of Volunteers' Week 2021, and in the approach to Small Charities' Week, our CEO Anne Lyall has recorded a special 'Thank You' message to the hundreds of volunteers across Northumberland who have supported our voluntary organsations and our communities.

"Volunteers are not just the backbone of society," Anne said, "but also the beating heart and lungs." 

Listen to Anne's message:




Bell View Lisa and Keith compressed


Supported by her employer, local firm ‘Bedmax’, Lisa has been volunteering for Bell View in Belford.

Bell View is a registered charity that supports and enables older people to live independently in their community of choice. Bell View base is a purpose built Resource Centre in Belford, North Northumberland but the project catchment area covers approximately 200 sq. miles of scattered rural and costal settlements.

Lisa has spent time working in the Bell View ‘Potting Shed’ garden, which has been untouched for 14 months, alongside volunteer Keith Walker, and has also helped in Bell View’s community café alongside volunteer Viv Walker serving lunches to Older People, who were thrilled to meet up at Bell View for the first time in 14 months.

We're helping Bell View to say a big 'Thank You' to Lisa, Keith and Viv, along with all the other Bell View volunteers for the invaluable support they give in their community.


Bell View Lisa 1 compressed



Cresswell Pele Tower Project logo


Volunteers have been been working very hard to help get the restored Cresswell Pele Tower ready for its public unveiling, despite hail, thunderstorms and COVID.

The Pele Tower at Cresswell was built by the Cresswell family in the 15th century and is one of about 175 Pele towers in Northumberland.  Cresswell Pele Tower Charitable Incorporated Organisation, funded by a huge grant of £667,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is approaching the end of its project to fully restore the three-storey tower and its environs, and volunteers have been involved at every stage.

On 17th July, the tower is due to be opened to the public as a visitor attraction. Recently, the organisation’s volunteer co-ordinator, Steve Lowe recorded a chat he had with three volunteers when they took a break from digging as they worked on getting the grounds shipshape in time for opening day.

Lesley, Margaret and Susan had heard about the volunteering opportunity via Facebook and jumped at the chance to be able to work together during the pandemic on something so worthwhile.

Listen to their chat with Steve:





Visit the Cresswell Pele Tower Project website.


Pele Tower 1      Pele Tower 2


Pele Tower Roof



Pele Tower 3

help 5148399 1280


Northumberland CVA is a partner in Bridge Northumberland, which help people living in Northumberland who are out of work and aged 16+ to overcome barriers to training, education and work.  We deliver the Supported Volunteering element of Bridge, which supports people who have a range of additional support needs, to gain confidence, self-esteem and practical skills by undertaking volunteering with the help of a buddy so they eventually move into unsupported volunteering, training or employment.

Our Volunteer Buddies make a huge difference in the lives of Bridge beneficiaries, who would never have been able to take up a volunteering role in the first place without their support, and we say 'thank you' to all of our Buddies.

Two of our Volunteer Buddies, Lorraine and Maureen, are retired nurses and thoroughly enjoy using their existing skills to help people to gain confidence and move forward in their lives.  Here's what they say:


Lorraine's story:

“I started nursing in 1977 and qualified as a registered mental health nurse in 1980. I was hospital based and worked for 37 years within a team caring for acutely ill inpatients requiring a wide range of support for their mental health. It was very rewarding knowing I could make a difference to their lives.

“When I retired, I was keen to use my skills in a volunteering role and was supported by Northumberland CVA to become a Volunteer Buddy with Bridge Northumberland. I have now been volunteering for over 4 years and really enjoy it.

“I have supported several beneficiaries and I can see the positive impact volunteering has. My nursing background and experience has been very useful with volunteering and I feel privileged to be involved as a buddy seeing their confidence grow and fulfilling their goals.”


Volunteer Buddy, Northumberland CVA


Maureen's story:

“Hello just wanted to say that I am really enjoying my retirement, and choosing to be a Volunteer Buddy is my way of staying connected.

“I retired after 25 years as a Registered General Nurse and enjoyed the busy world of nursing. I really didn’t have time for hobbies due to family life and shift patterns, so I was looking forward to some me time. I realised very soon that I missed the people contact so looked to do some volunteering.

“The buddy volunteering scheme is a good fit for me as it enables me to offer some of the things that I really enjoyed doing in my role as a nurse. Everyone needs encouragement at some point, and I liked helping people from patients to student nurses to obtain their goals. I feel that it is important to be a good listener; this can help with recognising needs that some people may have, and to support them to enjoy their volunteering.

“I have been very chuffed to be a small part of a volunteer obtaining work following a volunteer placement but just to help and feel that I have made a difference however small is definitely a plus for me.”


Volunteer Buddy, Northumberland CVA


Thank you again Lorraine and Maureen, and all our other volunteers, for all your hard work and dedication.  



NCBA Queens Award 2021 compressed

L to R: Andrea Poulter, Trustee and Volunteer Befriender, and Julie Boyack, Chief Officer 


Northumberland County Blind Association's volunteers, based across Northumberland, have been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

The Association works with 181 volunteers to deliver services to Blind and Visually impaired people is one of 241 charities, social enterprises, and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities.

Northumberland County Blind Association will receive the award crystal and certificate from Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland, Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland later this summer.

Julie Boyack Chief Officer says: “we are so proud and delighted that our organisation's work has been recognised, it’s a tribute to hard work and commitment of our volunteers.” In addition to the award we will receive a special designation- a slightly modified crystal with the words 'with special recognition - Covid 19'

The award recognises that we have provided impactful support to the community in response to the pandemic - by managing a significant increase in our usual work , Which we did by setting up a telephone Befriending service during the pandemic with 91 volunteers making telephone calls, at the height of the Epidemic we contacted over 600 Visually Impaired people, to reduce isolation, loneliness and providing a lifeline to clients during unprecedented times.  

For further Information please contact Julie Boyack 01670 514 316.

Read their Award Letter.



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