A pillar of the community will be given a fond farewell this month as she leaves Banbury for a small island in Scotland.
To mark Volunteers’ Week 2018, which started on Friday, staff from Sanctuary Housing in Banbury pay tribute to Sheena Gow for all she has done to help others.
Sheena, who is a community worker at Banbury Community Church and has lived in the town for more than 50 years, quickly found a niche in family work when her children were small, discovering that volunteering opportunities often led to paid employment.
Projects Sheena has been involved in have reached members of the community far and wide, including the Banbury and Disttrict Community Bus Project, which gets play activities on the road to rural areas.
She also helped to set up the Let’s Play project, which specialises in the provision of leisure opportunities for young disabled people outside of school hours.
On Saturday nights, Sheena is often on the Street Pastor rota, patrolling Banbury town centre handing out bottles of water, sweeping up broken glass and walking people to taxis, ensuring they get home safely.
She has played an instrumental part in the setup of several Sanctuary funded projects at The Hill Youth and Community Centre, including a boys group, a girls group, homework clubs, inter-generational art projects, a healthy lifestyles club and a youth action team.
While Sheena’s voluntary roles usually involve being on the management committee, she has always been willing to get stuck in with the ‘hands on’ aspects of volunteering, including manual work for the Sanctuary funded Faithworks furniture project.
Sheena said: “One of the most fascinating things about volunteering is all the things you can find out, get involved in and learn on the way.
“Volunteering can open doors into employment. It makes you realise what you are capable of.”
Sheena will be moving to Scotland to be closer to her family and everyone she has helped will miss her dearly.
Kate Winstanley, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, added: “Sheena’s inspirational work has gone a long way and has reached many people in the community.
“She is very much a part of Banbury life and her contributions have made a huge difference to some of our projects. We wish her luck in her new adventures.”
Volunteers’ Week 2018, which ends tomorrow (Friday), is an annual campaign which celebrates volunteering in all its diversity and those who give up their free time to help others.
To find out more, visit: www.volunteersweek.org