We’ve done it. For the third time in a row, NewLink Wales has received the WCVA Investing in Volunteers Award, which recognises our commitment to the extraordinary people we’re proud to work with.

We help people who’ve struggled with substance misuse and other wellbeing issues in the past, finding ways for them to cement their recoveries and re-build their futures. We also run training sessions for people who work in the substance misuse sector, and many organisations across Wales have had their teams boosted by volunteers we’ve trained.

NewLink Wales was the first organisation in Wales to receive the IiV award, back in 2005. It’s re-assessed every three years – and every time, our volunteer services have been found up-to-scratch.

Why does it matter?

‘Volunteering represents a huge part of our work, supporting both the individuals moving on from recovery, and the services that help them get there,’ says NewLink Wales CEO Lindsay Cordery-Bruce. ‘The IiV Award helps us show we’re getting our Volunteer Services right – and that makes a big difference when it comes to getting the word out there.

The more people that have confidence in us, the more people we can work with, and the more lives we can be a part of changing.’

‘We’re very, very happy to be recognised again by WCVA for the hard work our team puts into our volunteer services. The fact that this is the third time we’ve received this award really shows what we can do.’

‘It’s the quality of the volunteers’

‘It’s down to the quality of the volunteers,’ says our Volunteer Co-ordinator Louise Jones. ‘The people we connect with across our volunteer services are some of most driven, inspiring people you could hope to meet. It makes us want to keep improving our services to match the work they put in.’

Anthony was one such volunteer. Our Buzzin project (with Recovery Cymru) helped him re-find the self confidence that had been damaged by a long-term gambling problem, and he’s now joined the team as a Peer Mentor on the Out of Work Service, run by Gofal and NewLink Wales.

‘I’d recommend volunteering in a heartbeat,’ he says. ‘At NewLink Wales, I’ve met fantastic people, had access to training at no cost, and been supported all the way. It’s directly led to me getting a job in a field I was interested in, but didn’t know how to enter.’

‘As corny as it sounds, I’ve grown as a person.’

Some of our volunteers go above and beyond in support of our cause– like Vince, who chairs the volunteer forum that helps keep our services in line with what people actually need. We think dedication should be recognised, so every year our AGM plays host to our Volunteer Awards.

It’s a chance to publically thank our volunteers for the commitment they’ve shown. We couldn’t do what we do without them.

So what’s next?

NewLink Wales was set up in 1999, with the aim of improving what the substance misuse sector in Wales could do to help people get their lives back on track. We did that by training practitioners and volunteers to work in services. We also offered volunteer programmes to help those recovering from substance misuse to re-build their self confidence, and re-imagine their future.

That’s still what we do, but we’ve widened our remit to allow those struggling with other wellbeing-related problems to benefit from working with us. If an idea works, it’s worth sharing.

We’re not slowing down any time soon.  We’re in the middle of implementing a major new Business Plan for the future, which aims to make us a stronger, more effective organisation – with a wider reach than ever before.

How can I get involved?

If you’d like to volunteer with us, get in touch. You don’t need experience or a personal history of substance misuse to help make a difference; your enthusiasm and time is all we need.

If you’re in post-recovery from substance misuse or other situations that have affected your long-term wellbeing, we’ve got several great projects and services that could help you figure out what comes next, or simply to help you get back to being ‘you.’

This website’s generally the best place to start, and you’re always welcome to get in touch.