It’s Volunteers Week and a great time to find out about volunteering opportunities in the city, as well as thanking all volunteers like Marla and Sue who make Sheffield such a caring place to be.

Marla Addison, age 59:

Marla is a reading volunteer at Lowfield Primary School and Anns Grove school. She reads with pupils in year one who are five and six years old.

Marla retired last November and wanted to do something where she could use her experience of teaching English to international students.

Marla said: “’It is important to help children to read to increase their enjoyment, improve their confidence and to help them develop life skills. I volunteer to help make a difference to children and to share my enjoyment that I have for reading.

“You really see a change in the children.  When I first started going into the classroom, some children were reluctant readers not wanting to read with me. Now everyone wants to get involved. One little boy even chose to keep reading into his lunch break.

“Some of the girls I read with really enjoy their stories now. They put lots of drama into their reading and talk about each of the characters on the page.

Sue Williams, age 61:
Sue is a reading a volunteer at Lowfield primary school.  Sue started volunteering when she retired from Sheffield City Council more than three years ago.  Sue reads with children in year one, who are six and seven years old.

Sue said: “They are so enthusiastic, I love working with the children. You get to build a special relationship with each of them. I worked with one little girl with a stutter. Using some techniques suggested by her teacher, we were able to work together to improve her speech.

“It really is rewarding. After you have been working with them for a short time the children start to see reading as a relaxing thing. It’s not something that they are scared of anymore and they start to enjoy it.”

Julie Facer, teacher at Lowfield school said: “Volunteers like Sue and Marla are invaluable to the school. We have 16 reading volunteers and through their one-to-one work with our children they have really raised the profile of reading throughout the whole school.”

Marla and Sue are ESCAL volunteers who read with children in Sheffield schools. There are over 300 active ESCAL volunteers across Sheffield.  All volunteers are given thorough training and support so they can confidently read with children, undertake literacy games and word building.

Find out about volunteering opportunities in Sheffield:

Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) promotes and supports volunteering within the city. It helped 2,300 people volunteer last year.

To celebrate volunteer week and its 90th birthday, VAS is holding a Volunteer Recruitment Fair and street party on Thursday 9 June at The Circle on Rockingham Lane in Sheffield (S1 4FW)

  • The recruitment fair runs from 10.00am to 3.00pm
  • The street party runs from 12.30 to 3pm

Sue White, chief executive at VAS, said, “The value of volunteering in our city can’t be underestimated and we are delighted to be celebrating the work of volunteers as part of national Volunteer Week, and VAS’s 90th birthday.

“Volunteering makes a huge contribution to our city’s economy – an estimated £500 million per year. And the social value in terms of the individuals and organisations who are helped and supported, and the value to individual volunteers themselves in building skills, confidence and wellbeing. All that is certainly worth celebrating.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families at Sheffield City Council, added: “I would like to thank everyone who volunteers in Sheffield and provides valuable support in a huge number of areas, particularly those who work in our schools with our young people.

“There are lots of ways people can get involved and support their city. It’s rewarding work and can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Visit or call VAS on 0114 253 6600 to find out about volunteering opportunities in Sheffield.