VOLUNTEERING for any period of time is worthy of praise.
But to volunteer at the same place for 40 years is a remarkable achievement, showing an almost immeasurable dedication to helping others.
That is what Julia Mundy has done, earning her this year’s Best Volunteer title at The News We Can Do It awards.
Julia has been volunteering with the Southern Domestic Abuse Service for 40 years, offering her assistance at the same time that the service was starting up in 1977.
Julia said: ‘It sounds quite scary when you say that it has been 40 years since I first started.
‘It all started in Leigh Park, when a local councillor called Betty Bell set it up, and the service has been going strong ever since.
‘There has been a huge amount of change in that time.
‘In the beginning and in the 1970s the SDAS was run exclusively by volunteers.
‘Now it is an organisation with nearly 60 members of staff, which is a really positive change.’
Julia is now one of the charity’s trustees, but still volunteers her time for the service.
She says that the issue of domestic abuse has become more widely known, and is no longer a taboo subject.
Julia said: ‘People knew that domestic abuse was an issue, but nowadays we can do so much more for people suffering from it.
‘The fact that more people are aware of it and are actively able to change things is a good thing.
‘I suppose you would hope to wipe something within 40 years, but for as long as the problem exists, we will have work to do.
‘I’m hoping to be with the SDAS for the foreseeable future as well.’
Julia says that she is pleased to have won the award – but won’t be resting an her laurels just yet.
‘To hear that I had won the award was very unexpected.
‘It is a really nice feeling to have your work recognised – but there’s still lots more that can be done.’