What’s new News Volunteers are the golden heart of Daisy Chain This week is National Volunteers’ Week and Daisy Chain is celebrating the generosity of all volunteers including one special young volunteer who has overcome the odds to give her time to the charity. Melissa McRobb of Stockton, has Asperger’s Syndrome and has attended Daisy Chain’s clubs and activities herself. She volunteers in after-school clubs, holiday activity clubs and the weekly toddler sessions. Now 20, Melissa has already been volunteering for over three years and for her hard work and dedication she has been shortlisted in the Young Volunteer of the Year category at the annual achievement awards run by Catalyst which represents the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector in Stockton. Jayne Butler, Daisy Chain volunteer coordinator nominated Melissa because of her hard work and dedication to the charity. Jayne said: 'Melissa is still only 20 and she has been volunteering with us for a long time already. She is brilliant with the young people, the young children and babies, all age groups and she works brilliantly with the staff. 'Melissa is a very caring person, she is hardworking and reliable and such a valuable volunteer – we all love her.' Melissa added: 'I love coming to Daisy Chain and seeing the progress the children are making and how we have helped them make that progress. It’s good experience for me too as I would like to be a teaching assistant for children with complex needs. ‘I am really happy to have been shortlisted for an award and it was lovely when Jayne told me she had nominated me because she was so proud of me and the work I had done at Daisy Chain.’ The Catalyst Awards ceremony is on Thursday June 6 at The Grand Marquee at Wynyard Hall. As part of Volunteers’ Week, volunteer co-ordinator Jayne will be at the Volunteers’ Market on Monday June 3, 10am-3pm on Stockton High Street, where visitors can find out more about the services Daisy Chain offers for families affected by autism and the volunteering opportunities available with the organisation. Also, to celebrate Daisy Chain is offering two special volunteer sessions both at the Day Centre and Farm in Norton and at the Superstore on Portrack Lane; Tuesday 4th June 10am Special Volunteer Taster Session - Day Centre and Farm, Norton - feeding the animals, helping in the gardens and working in the wetlands and forest school. Wednesday 5th June 11am Special Volunteer Taster Session - Superstore - sorting through donations, working on the tills, accepting deliveries, arranging new stock, window displays, arranging books and DVDs. Later in the week there will also be a celebration event for all Daisy Chain volunteers to recognise their dedication, hard work and generosity in giving their time. Volunteers are worth over £450,000 annually to Daisy Chain. Neeraj Sharma, Daisy Chain chief executive, said: 'It’s so important that we at Daisy Chain along with all charities and organisations recognise and pay tribute to the support we get from volunteers and the value of that. We would not be able to offer all the services we do and stretch our funding so far if it wasn’t for their loyalty and commitment in giving up their time to help others. 'It’s also important to recognise the impact of volunteering on individuals, giving them opportunities to learn new skills, make friends, be part of the community and give something back.'