An Ode to Our Volunteers

A special commission for International Development Organisation, VSO, to commemorate their incredible volunteers at the Annual VSO Volunteer Awards in December 2022. A challenging brief with some hard hitting subject matter (and very long words to fit in!) but a real honour to write.

As the end of another year nears

We gather as VSO peers

To wow and amaze

And share in our praise

For all of our great volunteers

These special awards give us pride

In all those who’ve worked side by side

From community trainers

To online campaigners

And those who brought skills far and wide    

From helping young girls access school

And championing health-rights for all

To incomes surviving…

..then growing and thriving 

No challenge too big or too small

Through lockdowns, flooding and fire

The contexts were fragile and dire

But working together

In every endeavour

Your courage and grit would not tire

In communities often-maligned

Where stigma and hardship combined

You made access fair

With kindness and care

So no one would be left behind 

Our youth-led approach was alive

With passion, commitment and drive

You tackled taboos

Brought skills and fresh views

And helped many thousands to thrive

The change that we all see appearing

Takes time and some real persevering

So some are partaking

In long-term change-making

With Impact Beyond Volunteering

While all of our finalists wowed

There are four special winners allowed

The commitment they’ve given

And changes they’ve driven

Made each of our panel so proud

Now without any further ado

We’ll end with a statement so true

The impact you’ve made

Will last and cascade

So for all that you’ve done, we thank you!