Cheer for volunteers – National volunteers’ week 2020

It’s National Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) and Somerset County Council and partners are celebrating all the amazing work volunteers do, not just during the last few COVID-19 months, but all year round.

Many people stepped forward to support local community groups and organisations during the COVID-19 outbreak – a heart-warming response – and the Council wants to thank everyone who has made a huge difference in these unsettling times.

There are all kinds of things volunteers have been doing within their local communities – from collecting medical prescriptions, delivering food to walking dogs whose owners are shielding.

There are also many people who have been using their professional skills to make a difference. Somerset County Council staff stepped forward to support other key services such as registration services, adult social care and delivering essential Protective Personal Equipment (PPE).

Vicky Chipchase, a commissioning officer within Adult Social Care, volunteered as an administrator for her local area COVID-19 support group at the start of lockdown.

Vicky said: “Listening to the gratitude of our residents when I speak to them on the phone makes me proud to be part of the volunteer network in our area.

“We work closely with other community organisations to get people what they need at the right time. The positive impact that this happening on our communities makes me glad that I took up this opportunity when I did.”

At the beginning of lockdown, many volunteering roles across the County were paused. However, some County Council services have safely adapted to ensure volunteering continues.

Route1 Advocacy and Independent Visitors continue to gain children and young people’s voices and wishes ahead of meetings using telephone advocacy and video calls; both in their homes, foster placements and school environments. Advocates join meetings remotely and continue to be an important independent voice of the child.

David Hamlin who volunteers as an independent visitor shares what volunteering means to him: “Volunteering allows me to care and show someone they are worth something and give them a self-esteem boost. This is great for the individual’s and your wellbeing. Giving your time to someone else makes a huge difference”

Volunteering is a great way to make a difference to the lives of others, gain confidence and self-esteem, gain new skills, knowledge and experience, feel good about yourself, give back to your community.

Christine Lawrence, cabinet member for Customer and Communities at Somerset County Council would like to thank all volunteers:

“Thank you to all volunteers who have done so much across Somerset over the past few months. We couldn’t manage without you. Whether you have been checking on your neighbour, delivering food parcels, or if you joined a voluntary organisation to help – Thank you! Thank you for everything you have done and keep up the good work.”

Follow #CheerForVolunteers this National Volunteers’ Week – and check out @SomersetCouncil’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for Christine Lawrence expressing her thanks https://youtu.be/tR5FFMcAfpA

For more information on volunteering, please visit www.volunteering.somerset.gov.uk or for Corona Virus Helpers please go to https://www.corona-helpers.co.uk/