Emmaus Leeds celebrated the difference volunteers make and thanked them for all their time and dedication as part of this year’s Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1-7 June.

On Friday 31 May, volunteers from Emmaus Leeds celebrated with staff at a special thank you meal at Bibis Italian in Leeds city centre. The event marked the start of Volunteers’ Week, recognising the contribution of everyone who has volunteered at Emmaus Leeds over the past 12 months.

Alfie Pollard, aged 70 and from Beeston, is one of nine regular volunteers at Emmaus Leeds who give their time on a weekly basis.

Alfie, said: “I’ve been retired now for quite a number of years and volunteering is a great way of putting something back into the community. Being a part of the Emmaus Leeds community is brilliant.

“Since 2004 I’ve met many people who’ve progressed as beneficiaries at Emmaus Leeds. I’ve seen them at Emmaus, when they’ve gone on the moving-on system and I’ve seen them since, working – it’s just brilliant.

“As I say to anyone who’s got spare time; come down to Emmaus, we always want volunteers. If you can’t come to Emmaus, there’s plenty of other charities that need volunteers.”

Emmaus Leeds supports 26 formerly homeless people by providing them with a stable home and meaningful work for as long as they need it. Volunteers help in a range of roles at the Emmaus Leeds social enterprise on St Mary’s Street. Along with the weekly volunteers, the charity has 11 volunteer trustees as well as occasional volunteers, local fundraisers and employee volunteers from a host of Leeds businesses.

During Volunteers’ Week, charities across the UK will also be holding events to thank their volunteers and celebrate the power of volunteering. Last year there were more than 600 events across the country, from award ceremonies to tea parties and barbecues.

For many charities the week will be a chance to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities on offer. Volunteer fairs and other events will encourage people to try volunteering for the first time and help people find out how, through volunteering, they can make a difference to a cause they are passionate about.

Donald Forrester, Chief Executive of Emmaus Leeds, said: “People volunteer at Emmaus Leeds for many different reasons but the contribution they make to our charity is immeasurable. Having a mix of people help out alongside our beneficiaries enriches the Emmaus Leeds community and means we can achieve more and ultimately support more people who have experienced homelessness.

“I would like to give huge thanks to all the people who have volunteered for Emmaus Leeds over the past 12 months. From film students, fundraisers and recent graduates through to corporate volunteers and retired individuals, there are some amazing people in our city doing great things as volunteers.”

To find out more about the work of Emmaus Leeds head to www.emmaus.org.uk/leeds. For more information or get involved as a volunteer call 0113 248 4288 or visit Emmaus Leeds at St Mary’s Street, Leeds, LS9 7DP.