A VOLUNTEERS fair in Cirencester last week was bustling with crowds of people, all looking for a new opportunity.

The Cotswold Volunteers Fair was held in the town’s Bingham Gallery last week and organisations of all types turned up to try and recruit more vital helpers.

“This event is really to promote being a volunteer,” said Manager of Cotswold Volunteers Judy Mills. “There are 240 different volunteer opportunities around the Cotswolds and while some want commitment, others only want a couple of hours. People can really make a difference.”

Over 10 different organisations arrived on the day, all desperately seeking volunteers to perform a wide range of duties, including gardening, being an art gallery steward, radio presenting, working with vulnerable adults, and working with children.

“Volunteers are vital,” said Emma Costley-White from Scrubditch Care Farm. “We don't get any government funding and cannot afford to employ staff. Our volunteers play a vital role in our everyday running.”

Regular volunteer with charity Fairshares Kelly White, 24, has been volunteering for almost a year and has proved it is not just the organisations that benefit.

“I love volunteering. It’s given me confidence and made me stronger than I’ve ever been,” said Kelly. “I suffer from anxiety and I'm not able to work due to other illnesses. Volunteering is my way of coping with it all."

Visitor Services Co-ordinator at Chedworth Roman Villa Sigute Barniskyte said volunteers were hugely important to the National Trust.

"In the National Trust there is one member of staff for every three volunteers. Without them we would never be able to open some of our sites," she said.

For more information about volunteering in the Cotswolds visit cotswoldvolunteers.org