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CEO of Volunteer Cornwall awarded MBE for his services to volunteering

Monday 20th February, 2023

CEO of Volunteer Cornwall awarded MBE for his services to volunteering

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 career.

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 difference. “

“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 community.

“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 charities.

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!”


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