CEO of Volunteer Cornwall awarded MBE for his services to volunteering
Monday 20th February, 2023
A charity boss recently awarded an MBE for his services to volunteering says the honour is a team effort.
Ian Jones, chief executive of Volunteer Cornwall, was
recognised in the New Years Honours list after an incredible career that has
helped hundreds of people to support their communities.
Cornwall has one of the highest volunteering rates in the
UK. More than a third of the population gives volunteer time, worth around
half a billion pounds.
Newham-based Volunteer Cornwall has been a driving force
behind this success story and Ian has certainly played his part.
He took up a job with the charity back in 2006 and since
made it his mission to change the way people think about volunteering – it’s as
much about the benefits to the volunteer as the people they’re helping.
It’s a simple but winning formula and Ian credits the team
he works with , plus the volunteers who turn out week after week, with developing
the charity’s work.
“I see the MBE as not being just for me, it’s for everybody
in this organisation and everyone who volunteers with us,” said Ian. “It’s an
award for the efforts of the organisation as a whole.”
Born and brought up in one of Liverpool’s toughest
neighbourhoods, Ian left school with no qualifications.
His mother died when he was young and Ian was raised by his
father, who helped his son to develop an interest in arts and culture.
Ian went on to run a local magazine after being awarded a
grant from the Prince’s Trust. He enrolled at night school and studied for a
degree before building up an impressive list of qualifications throughout his
After working in community and youth development in
Liverpool, Ian was involved with regional development in the South West. He’s also
worked in academia at the University of Exeter and Combined University in
Cornwall and spent time overseas in north America, Canada and the Far East.
“When things happen really well, you’ve got to build on it,”
said Ian, who enjoys the challenge of ‘energising’ people into making a
“Despite my MBE, I have quite an anarchistic leaning and I’m
quite interested in how we get people to take ownership of their lives and
“Instead of giving people aspirations, you ask them what
they want. What are they interested in?”
Volunteer Cornwall works with a wide range of organisations,
from environmental and healthcare organisations to heritage groups and animal
Ian and his team have seen how much the volunteers get out
of their experience, making connections and finding new purpose and meaning.
“I enjoy that part of it very much,” said Ian, who has
recently become a grandfather. “It’s seeing people realise that they can do
something, they can make a difference and life can be good.”
Volunteer Cornwall is facing the same challenges as others
in the charity sector but Ian has a good team – and a nice workplace.
“We work all over Cornwall but the office we have in Newham
is at the heart of what we do,” said Ian who is chairman of Truro Cricket Club.
“I can virtually see it from my office,” he added. “And we’ll have a bridge
between the two in a minute, just you wait!”