Celebrating our valued volunteers


"The first week of June is set aside each year to celebrate the valuable contribution that volunteers make to organisations and local communities across the UK. 1-7 June, or ‘Volunteers’ Week’ as it is commonly known, is orchestrated by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) each year as a chance for organisations like us to celebrate volunteering in all its diversity.

For many organisations, this week is a time of festivity, for hosting special events to help thank and engage their local communities or memberships in volunteering. However, during this difficult time NCVO have decided it would be inappropriate to go ahead with many of the usual Volunteers’ Week practices to respect social distancing guidelines. As such, much of the UK’s Third Sector will be a little quieter this week than in previous years.

Nevertheless, Volunteers’ Week is still a chance for us at The OR Society to celebrate our volunteers and say thank you for the fantastic contribution they have made over the last year. Although we are unable to hold our usual

in-person Volunteer Celebration event at our annual conference, we would still like to take the time to acknowledge all those who give their time to The OR Society, the membership and the wider OR community.

The OR Society relies on its volunteers all year round and although we employ a small number of office staff to provide the day-to-day functions our Society relies on, none of their work would be sufficient without our hundreds of volunteers. Almost every aspect of The OR Society relies on volunteers to fulfil its aims, reach its strategic goals and serve the OR community. Volunteers can be found working tirelessly no matter where you look in The OR Society, but a special thank you goes out to our volunteers who;

■ compose our Board and General Council, who are an integral part of deciding our strategic focuses, organising our events, serving our members, creating our journals and even keeping an eye on finances.

■ make up our Regional Society committees, who work to devise and run programmes of regional OR events and meetings to keep those working in OR connected to their local OR community.

■ make up our Special Interest Group committees, who in a similar vein to regional groups, are committed to providing events but with a specialised focus on a particular sector or technique area. They help maintain and invigorate the different sectors and careers in OR by hosting events for experts and early career professionals alike and encourage the sharing of best practice and growing networks.

■ can be found on all of our editorial teams, running the Society’s journals and who are supported by an even larger pool of volunteer reviewers who assess submitted papers.

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Even InsideOR and Impact, the Society’s two magazines, would not appear in your inbox without our volunteer editors John and Graham, or all of the members of the OR community who submit articles to them.

■ put in countless hours organising our larger, annual events such as the Simulation Workshop, Analytics Summit and of course, the OR Annual Conference.

■ use their OR skillsets to make the world a better place through Pro Bono OR (PBOR). These volunteers have started 21 projects with UK charities since the start of Volunteers’ Week 2019 and have helped 17 organisations achieve their goals by completing a Pro Bono OR project. Although we are all struggling separately with the impact of this crisis, PBOR has seen a surge in aspiring volunteers inquiring into how they can help make a difference. We at PBOR want to let all our volunteers know that your work and enthusiasm has not gone unnoticed and that your willingness to share your time and talents over the last year has not only helped our client organisations but also their thousands of service users across the UK.

■ introduce a new generation of analysts, scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs to OR through their work with OR in Education. ORiE volunteers have attended 26 events since September 2019. Recently the outreach ORiE volunteers have been able to do has been limited by event cancellations, however they have been working hard to review the workshops both volunteers and teachers run in schools, ensuring the ORiE programme will have an even greater impact once we are able to resume our work.

Volunteers have an undeniable impact on The OR Society, the OR community and all those they interact with through their volunteering. While we are undoubtedly grateful for the time and hard work of our volunteers year-round, we want to ensure we take the time to make it clear how thankful and appreciative we are of all of you. Thank you.

If you would like to get involved or learn more about the work our volunteers do, visit

https://www.theorsociety.com/get-involved/pro-bono-or/ for Pro Bono OR volunteering,

https://www.theorsociety.com/get-involved/or-in-education/ for OR in Education volunteering, and

https://www.theorsociety.com/get-involved/volunteering-opportunities/ for all other volunteering.