By Sarah Callaghan, Volunteering Team Manager
Volunteers – whether official or unofficial – have become the backbone of the country over what has been a difficult 14 months. From collecting shopping to those who are now volunteering at the Jab Clinics, we have seen their profile and worth significantly rise.
This week marks National Volunteering Week with the theme ‘A Time to Give Thanks’. As well as acknowledging what our volunteers have contributed to our own organisation, this year we are most definitely looking forward and at how our volunteers can contribute to supporting, improving and adding value to the lives of the people we support.
Despite much of our face-to-face volunteering within services grinding to a halt during lockdown, we have seen an increase in people offering to volunteer with us. It opened our eyes up to an exciting world of opportunities with virtual volunteering.
From an army of virtual volunteer Christmas Elves, to those sharing their talents via our growing YouTube playlist to provide entertainment for the people we support, we are so grateful of the boundless creativity and enthusiasm that our dedicated volunteers continue to bring.We also have 53 employee volunteers via our corporate partnership with Seasalt who are eagerly awaiting to be matched with people we support to have virtual chats or give them some fashion advice.
One of our largest volunteering successes this year has been with our Nutrition Volunteers. To date, 45 volunteers have provided nutritional guidance to a total of 60 people we support throughout England and Wales. Four volunteers have also been creating and delivering useful webinars to colleagues on common health issues experienced by the people we support. We have been so overwhelmed by the good news stories we have received from the different services, such as Natasha’s story, and we are aiming to support 100 individuals by the end of this year!
We are excited to begin volunteers returning to face-to-face opportunities, and many of our registered volunteers are looking forward to returning to see their buddies or help them attend activities such as swimming or dance clubs.
As we come out of the pandemic, don’t forget the impact volunteers can make and do contact us if you would be interested to help out!