THERE is just no stopping a kind-hearted volunteer from Springhead who is still as involved as ever after helping at Mahdlo Youth Zone for six years.
Les Barker joined the team just after they opened in 2012 on Egerton Street and since then has been helping every Thursday and Saturday – making him Mahdlo’s longest serving volunteer.
Les helps out in the finance department where he counts and records all the 50ps handed in by young people each evening, along with the café takings and fundraising donations.
He said: “Since I retired I was looking for something to do to keep busy and ‘the grey matter’ thinking.
“I didn’t fancy volunteering directly with young people, but Mahdlo is such a fantastic cause I knew I wanted to help.
“I thought that my background in finance at Groundwork Oldham and Rochdale and skills that I developed over the years would come in useful.
“I enjoy being a part of team Mahdlo, the office can be a bit noisy at times, but that is all part of the enjoyment!”
Louise Edge, Head of Finance at Mahdlo, added: “Les is a valuable member of the team. He’s been here longer than anyone else and is a great help in the office.
“Being able to rely on him to come every in each week makes things so much easier.
“I don’t know what we would do without him.”
Since opening in 2012 Mahdlo has created around 650 volunteering opportunities for local residents, with many progressing into paid employment with the charity or other local youth organisations.
There are now 78 active volunteers who help out with a range of activities from finance, administration and reception to working in the café and supporting the delivery team with anything from sports and arts to cooking projects and outdoor activities.
Scarlett Ash, Volunteer Coordinator at Mahdlo, added: “It’s not just about youth work; volunteering gives you an insight into running a charity and how every helping hand is appreciated.
“It’s a great way to meet new friends, learn or try something new, all people need is a few hours each week and the passion to get involved.
“Anyone that is considering volunteering, whatever their age or background, should get in touch. I’d love to hear from you and discuss how you can be a part of team Mahdlo too.”
Mahdlo Youth Zone offers activities and support for young people aged 8–19 (25 with disabilities). For more information visit: www.mahdloyz.org
To find out more about volunteering at Mahdlo, call Scarlett on 07507 038 160 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org