Recently I wrote about Somebody: how we all, at times, reckon that Somebody should do something about something, whilst overlooking the fact that we are all Somebodies.

That was made very obvious at the leisure centre on November 9. Not very enticingly entitled Voluntary Sector Fair, it was a gathering of Somebodies. And what a lot of them there are. I shall be writing about some of their efforts at a later date. 

There were about 80 groups represented. Most could do with more volunteers – even those which may seem to be well covered could do with more people for this would allow the current volunteers to have some time to themselves.

Most volunteers work on a rota: it may be a couple of hours once a week or so, it may be half a day, or even more.

The definition of a volunteer is one who freely offers to take part in an enterprise, or undertake a task, without being paid.

Unfortunately, in many cases, groups are threatened with closure due to forthcoming council cuts in funding.

This was the place to go to see what wonderful work is carried out by volunteers and what is very likely to be lost when those cuts are felt.

Some organisations have paid something toward travelling expenses or parking charges. But those expenses would, possibly, be among the first outgoings to be cut.

Talking to stall-holders it was easy to see what a lot of really good work is carried out by volunteers but what is not obvious is what the effect would be if those services were removed.

Remember the tale of the kingdom lost because a nail was lost?

For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the loss of a horseshoe nail.

Evidently that proverb goes back to the 14th century, yet still today big consequences may be traced back to small inconsequential beginnings.

Take what seems a very small group: Let’s Read.

At first chat with the volunteers it sounds as if they visit local schools and read to children.

That sounds jolly for the children and the readers.

But read on – and you can but many children cannot – read on, that is. You could be listening to this on Woking Talking Newspaper ( – another charity which proves the use of reading to people who cannot read themselves. 

There are many young people who struggle to read for various reasons including the fact that English may be their second language. 

This charity believes that improving basic literacy skills can break the circle of disadvantage and deprivation.

Lack of that skill will not only hold a child back in school, but an adult in life.

If you cannot read signs, you cannot read instructions – which could, literally, have deadly consequences. 

Let’s Read is the only charity in Surrey to offer free practical help by providing books and trained tutors to help youngsters with their reading.

Books are given to pupils in ten primary schools in Woking: currently about 600 books are distributed in a term.

There are two teams of tutors trained in phonics who visit schools weekly helping about 60 pupils each school year.

Funding is through grants and donations of money and books from individuals, businesses or private-sector organisations.

If you are interested in joining, training is provided for tutors – contact [email protected]