This week is National Volunteers Week 2020 (1-7 June) an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. Mid and south Essex is no exception and has a wealth of voluntary organisations and dedicated volunteers, regularly supporting their local communities. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been an even greater sense of pride in volunteering with hundreds of volunteers lending a hand.
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has had an impact on everyone, young and old, across the entire world. But volunteers across the county have shown that when faced with the challenges of a national crisis, people will come together and can achieve amazing things.
Professor Mike Thorne, Independent Chair of the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) wants to say a huge “thank you” to all of the amazing volunteers on behalf of everyone working in the NHS in Essex:
“Volunteers are often the unsung heroes in our communities, and this week we want to make a special effort to say “thank you”. Volunteers from all kinds of backgrounds with a range of valuable skills have come together to support the NHS, local authorities and providers as we deal with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
“It’s so humbling to see the speed with which volunteers have come together to help us make some major changes to our services in the community. Their commitment and willingness to help, often with something they’ve never done before has been just brilliant!
Changes have been made in Community Hospital settings across mid and south Essex so that more patients can be cared for. Volunteers from all walks of life have been helping get things ready, whether it’s cleaning, moving equipment, setting things up – they have all played an important part. For some, volunteering is a regular event but for others it’s all very new and has come about as a result of the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
Jennifer’s usual job is as an Ofsted registered childminder, but her business was seriously impacted by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, so she completed the St John’s Ambulance COVID-19 Care Module in the hope that she could help. Soon after Jennifer was told she was going to be volunteering at Brentwood Community Hospital:
“The work took me right back to my nursing days from 20 years ago. I met some amazing people and was treated as one of them from the very first day. The public dropped off food and snacks as well as the odd treat, I found that so lovely.
Volunteering had such a positive impact that Jennifer is now considering a change in career;
“I was disappointed when my volunteering came to and as I’ve enjoyed it so much, so much so in fact I’ve made the decision to change jobs – who knows, I may even end up working back at Brentwood Community Hospital!”
Thorne added “The list of organisations and partners working with us is vast, but includes those such as St John’s Ambulance, Essex Fire Service, the Territorial Army and Team Rubicon, as well as the many Councils for Voluntary Service (CVS) that be found across mid and south Essex. I’d like to thank them all for their incredible support.”
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering in your area, you can start by visiting National Council for Voluntary Organisations to find a volunteering opportunity near you. https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ncvo-volunteering/i-want-to-volunteer