THERE was an event last week that focused on something fascinating, enjoyable and worthwhile but which could easily have passed under most people’s radar.

National Volunteer Week 2018 brought a variety of activities to the town but, more importantly, it highlighted the thousands of people locally who regularly give their time to help others.

Bolton is an extraordinarily rich town for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups.

Every day, men and women volunteer to provide meals and care for the elderly and vulnerable and support a panoply of causes - from families with young children to those with mental health problems. There are charities dealing with homeless people of all ages, individuals and families suffering poverty, those supporting children and adults with a cross-section of illnesses and disabilities and the hundreds of people who work in charity shops across the town.

This tidal wave of goodwill is freely and generously given by ordinary people because they know two things. Firstly, it’s vital to the daily life of the town and, secondly, helping makes them feel good.

No-one could regularly give their time if they didn’t get something from it themselves. Volunteering offers a way to feel useful, to make a difference to someone else’s life, to be a valuable member of the community.

I was privileged to be involved in two events last week that showcased community groups across Bolton. The first one was as a “dragon” for a Dragon’s Den style event run by Horwich Rotary Club which was giving cash to local organisations.

These grants were for specific projects and covered everything from sports equipment to an intergenerational project to brightening up Blackrod. Each of nine groups had to make a presentation and then the “dragons” decided who got the money. It was really was very revealing how committed and passionate people are here. And how caring they are when they donate their time.

The other event was a rather similar one for Bolton CVS. Again, we learned more about a variety of local groups in impressive presentations that made everyone feel better about life in our town.So if you ever fancied volunteering, why not give it a go? It’s just brilliant!