FOR many, the start of a New Year means a time for resolutions. Some of us might make it our personal mission to shift the Christmas weight, or finally pick up the musical instrument which has been gathering dust over the previous year. But volunteers and workers at Tynedale-based charities are appealing to people across the region to consider lending a hand, and helping their community by volunteering themselves.

Looking to recruit new team members this year is Chrysalis Club Tynedale, a charity which offer a range of uplifting activities and support for those living with dementia and their families. Since 2019, Chrysalis have more than doubled in membership, but need more volunteers to match the numbers.

Lead volunteer Sheelagh Jones first came across Chrysalis whilst performing with her dance group for members.

“I was recently retired, and had always planned to volunteer. I had lost my aunt to dementia, so when I found Chrysalis it was the right fit. It’s very rewarding. Because it’s all local people, you really feel like you’re making a difference to not only people living with dementia but their families,” Sheelagh said.

The charity meets twice a week at the Torch centre and also at the Riverside Cafe in Prudhoe.

Also appealing for volunteers is the Tanga Club, also based at the Torch Centre. Launching in November, Tanga is a social and activity club for children and young adults from babies to 18 with a wide range of needs, from those with severe disabilities to high functioning young people with ADHD, and their siblings who might have no additional needs at all. It also offers support for the parents.

“We have children come specially for the club from all the way from Kielder, Crawcrook and Morpeth,” said chairwoman of the group, Katherine Miller.

“We might be a new group, but we’re growing rapidly, and therefore need the help of volunteers. It’s also a great social opportunity, because we are like a family.”

Recently, the Tanga have been encouraging young people in school who are considering future careers in working with people who have additional needs, to gain experience volunteering at the group.

“It’s a win, win because it looks great on their CV and it helps us,” Katherine said,

Part of Hexham for over a decade, the Minerva Centre on Hallstile Bank is also looking for helping hands. The centre helps individuals with additional needs to practise the arts through sessions or courses including painting, craft, pottery, photography jewellery making and design.

“Our motto at Minerva is that everyone is good at something, you just have to find that something and that’s what we do,” said centre manager Margaret Maughan.

“You don’t need an artistic background to volunteer. We’d just like the extra support so we can offer more one-to-one time for the students.”

For more information on volunteering contact the charities directly.