Over 21 million people volunteer in the UK at least once a year, contributing an estimated £23.9bn to the UK economy with many organisations like Norton-based autism support charity Daisy Chain depending on their generosity.

Yet volunteering is a two-way street and volunteers benefit from the work they do and skills they learn – one of Daisy Chain’s committed volunteers believes working with the charity has added huge value to her CV and helped her land her first permanent teaching role.

Laura Hamilton, 22, has volunteered at Daisy Chain since she was just 16 years old and now a recently qualified primary school teacher – she is set to move out of supply teaching to a permanent role at Park End primary school in Middlesbrough.

"I definitely believe having the volunteering I do at Daisy Chain on my CV is beneficial. I have been recommended to supply roles because of my experience working with children with autism. It’s been valuable in getting my new role too as the knowledge I have gained in the field of special educational needs is in high demand.

"I love volunteering at Daisy Chain, it has been fantastic watching the children grow and develop as well as enjoy the warm and welcoming environment where they can relax and chill out. I have learned so much and working with children with special educational needs is something I would like to specialise in the future.

"I would recommend volunteering at Daisy Chain to anyone - it’s a lovely place and it is extremely rewarding to see the children have a lovely time and the opportunity to socialise in a supportive environment which recognises and understands their needs."

Daisy Chain currently has around 220 active volunteers who offer their time and expertise to help the charity support families in the Tees Valley affected by autism.

Rob Kendall, volunteering manager, said, "Our volunteers offer around 19,000 hours of their time each year. We are a local charity, dependent on the generosity of those who offer their time to help us support families living with autism, so volunteering is extremely valuable to us.

"People volunteer for many different reasons such as having spare time, a desire to do something worthwhile and also to gain new skills which can help them find a job or even change their careers. We have a huge range of roles that offer a wide variety of opportunities at Daisy Chain which gives volunteers lots of choice in the activities they can take part in."

During National Volunteering Week, the Daisy Chain volunteer team will be out and about with information on how volunteering works and the skills you learn that can help with the search for employment.

  • Monday 4th June, 10am-3pm at Stockton Volunteers Market, Events Marquee, Stockton High Street
  • Wednesday 6th June and Friday 8th June, 10am-4pm at Daisy Chain Superstore, Portrack Lane, Stockton.

If you would like to volunteer at Daisy Chain, simply visit our Volunteering pages on our website.