This week is Volunteers' Week, run by NCVO. It’s a chance to get involved in volunteering, see what volunteers get up to, and for organisations to shout about the amazing work volunteers do for them.
Here at The Vegan Society, we couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers, so we’re running a series of blogs to show the range of work volunteers can get up to. If you’re interested in volunteering with us, please head to this page to read about the different ways to get involved.
In this blog we're introducing you to Ann Lloyd, another treasured member of our volunteer team. Here's Ann's story.
Being vegan is a very important part of my life, and volunteering for The Vegan Society is a wonderful way to connect to likeminded people. I've been vegan for 25 years now, and it was during a conversation a good while ago with folk at an event local to me that I realised how hard it was for some people to find important information, with some saying they felt overwhelmed, and others wishing there could be more frequent events 'up North'. By coincidence, a little while later I read in The Vegan Society magazine that volunteers were always welcome, so I contacted Alex and put my name forward. That was three years ago, and I thoroughly enjoy every minute of my volunteering!
When I go out to events, I love meeting so many lovely people and chatting about veganism. Discussing the very individual reasons for being vegan and how it can change your way of life is always so interesting, and when I’m out and about I also do a lot of talking to new businesses and crafters who are looking for information about applying for the Vegan Trademark.
I changed my lifestyle because I don't believe other sentient beings should suffer for my diet, or for items I use on a daily basis. That same reason is still the foremost reason most people I have met at events go vegan, or want to. Now, though, there is also a huge (and growing) awareness of environmental and health issues and The Vegan Society has a wealth of information available to anyone who wants to transition to a plant-based diet for their own reasons.
I remember at one of my first events, an older member of the public chatted to me and told me that although she herself was vegetarian, her granddaughter (who was vegan) was trying to convince her that she should “be vegan too". That lady signed our 30 day pledge form and when I met her recently at an event, she came to tell me she'd been vegan for 18 months! There are so many similar, wonderful stories to tell, from new businesses starting up (using information supplied by The Vegan Society) and folk transitioning to a plant-based diet after taking the 30 day pledge. It's lovely when someone comes to find us at a later event and lets us know that they've (as somebody said to me just a few weeks ago) “done something that they wished they'd done before".
In terms of what can be hard about volunteering - there can be mischief makers! It's all part of a fun-filled volunteering day, really. When the cheeky mischief makers come to us, we chat away, there's laughter and fun, and 9 times out of 10 they will leave with a leaflet or advice about the website, wanting to discover more.
As a volunteer, the most important thing for me is the back-up I receive from the team at The Vegan Society. I know I can contact them at any time, and any questions I may have are quickly answered. Also, if I'm ever concerned about anything, they're not far away and my support from Seona is especially brilliant.
In conversations that I've had with people attending events, and with business owners (old and new), one of the foremost comments I get is that The Vegan Society is so important to a lot of people. I'm very, very proud to volunteer for The Vegan Society. I love every minute of it!
This blog and many others are written and proof read by a team of skilled and dedicated volunteers. If you’re interested in getting involved with writing for The Vegan Society, please email volunteer[at]vegansociety[dot]com with some examples of your work and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.