A CHRISTCHURCH-based charity is celebrating the work of 120 hard-working volunteers.

Autism Wessex is celebrating Volunteers’ Week, which comes to an end today, by thanking their team, who give up their time for free.

Sylvia Carpenter, volunteer co-ordinator of the charity, said: “We simply could not cope without our valuable network of volunteers especially for our busy fundraising events programme.

“We have 120 active volunteers who have contributed an impressive 850 hours since January.

“We run an ongoing recognition programme and congratulate every volunteer when they reach 100 hours.”

She singled out Robert Ward, who has given 167 hours this year already.

He said “I was supported by Autism Wessex before I began volunteering.

“I wanted to volunteer to gain skills and confidence with the aim of eventually getting paid employment.

“Now as well as volunteering for the fundraising team I also have a paid position at Penny Farthing, one of the residential homes.

“I am proud of the number of volunteering hours I have achieved and really enjoy my jobs at the charity.”

The charity’s office at Bargates, Christchurch, is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

For further information people can call 01202 483360.