VOLUNTEERING opportunities in Basingstoke and Deane are being showcased this week by the borough council.

Do Your Bit week runs until June 7 and invites people to find out more about how to volunteer.

New Basingstoke and Deane Mayor Councillor Roger Gardiner said: “During my year as Deputy Mayor, I have become increasingly aware of the important role played by the voluntary sector in Basingstoke and Deane, and the range of services it provides.

“The huge number of residents involved receive little recognition from the wide community which would find itself so much poorer without the contribution of so many willing volunteers.

“So much can be achieved by voluntary endeavours lying outside the scope of local or central government for the benefit of our local communities.

“So often, the things we spend time grumbling about are things we could fix. Volunteering can be fun. Meet new people, make new friends and get a real sense of achievement.”

Julie Johnson, chairwoman of the Shakespeare Community Residents’ Association, has been volunteering her time to create the Popley East Community Plan, and also helps run the Happy Hour cafe at Popley Fields Community Centre every Thursday.

Encouraging others to give up their time, she said: “I have been volunteering in the local community for almost 20 years, working with a range of people, gaining new skills, enhancing ones I already had, discovering new interests and making new friends.

“We all have skills that can be useful in helping others, whether that be designing a website or baking a cake or even delivering leaflets. Regardless of age or circumstances, volunteering can be very rewarding.

“I am lucky enough to see the results of some of the projects I have been involved in, such as community planting and a brand new kids’ play area.

“We can all help make our little corner of the world a better place to live, and all it costs is a little of your time.”

Various events are taking place in the borough over the next few days where people can find out more about volunteering.

These are:

Thursday, June 5, 3pm to 7pm, Ridgeway Centre, Blackdown Close, Buckskin.

Thursday, June 5, 4.30pm to 7pm, Church of Christ The King, Brighton Hill Parade, Basingstoke.

Friday, June 6, 3pm to 7pm, Viables Community Centre, The Harrow Way, Basingstoke.

Saturday, June 7, noon to 3pm, Bramley Village Fete, Clift Meadow.

For more information, call the borough council on 01256 844844 or email community.development@basingstoke.gov.uk.