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Volunteer centre would help Langley events

The success of every Canada Day, Cruise-In, festival, parade and sporting event in Langley lies in the support of an army of people, the backbone of any community, who work countless hours without financial reward.

These events and others are dependent on ‘volunteer power,’ and, Sonya Paterson told council on Monday, the events that are fueled by volunteers began with their vision.

The occasion to honour them publicly, the International Volunteer Day, has come and gone, but on Monday three volunteers came before council to discuss ways to recruit volunteers and cultivate their continuing altruism.

Paterson told council that there are 20 volunteer centres in B.C., one of which is in Surrey, That centre receives many calls from people in Langley looking for opportunities to volunteer.

To keep them in Langley, a volunteer centre should be established here, said Paterson, who was accompanied by Shar Dubas and June Clarke.

“The Township of Langley does a very good job of celebrating volunteers,” Paterson said, noting that the municipality hosts a volunteer appreciation dinner every year.

“Volunteers are instruments of success who humbly commit their time to sports teams and clubs, youth organizations like 4-H clubs, Girl Guides, Scouts (and) local organizations like our arts and cultural society, Cancer Society, Alzheimer’s Society, Heritage society, Langley Horse Council and family events,” Paterson said.

The trio asked for council to support establishing a Langley Volunteer Centre. The timing could not be more appropriate, Paterson said, with the Seniors Games coming to Langley in 2014.

“It seems to be the perfect time to talk about developing a sustainable volunteer centre,” she said.

“If there is one thing we learned from having the Olympics in B.C. it is the importance of leaving a legacy,” Paterson added.

The volunteer centre could provide online support through a secure website that registers volunteers, creating a safe and secure data base for organizations who need volunteers. It would help to promote events, provide volunteer manager training, and show people how to write grant applications.

On Jan. 16, at the first meeting of the New Year, council will consider a motion proposed by Councillor Kim Richter that asks staff to investigate setting up a centralized volunteer bureau.

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