During National Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June) the BSAVA is recognising and applauding the incredible contributions that their volunteers make to the association.
From Student Representatives at the Universities, right through to the Trustee Board, the BSAVA has more than 150 volunteers helping to run the association. In their 12 Regional Committees, these volunteers help to organise CPD online and in person, and many volunteers are part of the BSAVA’s Working Committees which cover the key elements of the association including Publications, Scientific, Education, PetSavers Management and Congress.
There are many reasons why people decide to volunteer at the BSAVA, but mostly it is to give something back to the profession, the networking opportunities and recognition of the career development opportunities that volunteering can provide.
The BSAVA’s Volunteer Development Committee is there to ensure that the volunteers are in a post that is of the most interest to them. As part of the Development Committee, the BSAVA is rolling out a Volunteer Development Programme, which will offer training opportunities for all volunteers, allowing them to improve their peripheral skills which may be of use to them in their usual work. Many volunteers remain with the BSAVA for a number of years and will take on several different roles during their time.
Susan Dawson, Chair of the Volunteer Development Committee said: “I am delighted to be joining the heart of the BSAVA volunteer family as chair of the volunteer development committee. As a past-president of the association I have experienced all the benefits that can be gained from being a BSAVA volunteer – having fun, making friends, and making a difference. I look forward to working with everyone to provide equal opportunities for all our members to become BSAVA volunteers in whatever capacity works best for them.”
BSAVA’s current President, Sheldon Middleton took his route to his presidency via involvement at a member-facing regional level back in 2007. He held roles both as Treasurer and Secretary during this time. In 2011, Sheldon took on a new role within the Association as Regional Representative, before becoming well and truly bitten by the volunteering bug and moving onto Chair the Membership Development Committee.
Sheldon expressed an interest in learning more about finance, which the Association was happy to support, and this led to him taking on the Honorary Treasurer role before moving onto the Presidential ladder. Offshoots during this time included involvement in the PDP Committee and editing of the new graduate pocketbook. Sheldon’s journey as a volunteer gives a clear picture of how volunteers can work through the volunteer structure – to achieve individual outcomes and ambitions.
Sheldon Middleton said: “I started volunteering soon after leaving university and BSAVA’s regional network allowed me to replicate the sense of community I had whilst studying. Volunteering has given me the opportunity to work with and learn from people I would not have come across in the course of my day job.”
“I have developed new skills that have been directly applicable to my career as a veterinary surgeon and practice principal such as financial management and leadership. The friends I’ve made along the way provided invaluable personal and professional support and are still only an email away.”
Speaking about the volunteers, Carole Haile, Volunteers Manager said: “Our wonderful volunteers are the heart of the BSAVA. Each one is an important cog in the larger machine and we would not be able to operate without them.
“It goes without saying that volunteers have played a key role in the pandemic response and Volunteers Week is a time for us to come together and thank all our volunteers for their invaluable contribution.”
To find out more about volunteering opportunities at the BSAVA, contact Carole at [email protected].
To become a BSAVA member, visit the website here.