Volunteers Week runs until 7 June, and Dorset Council is taking the opportunity to thank people who give up their time to help others.
Although many people have been volunteering since long before the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands more have stepped in to help friends and neighbours in more recent times. Over the past 15 months, communities have come together to support each other and those most vulnerable. Groups were created overnight and have provided not only vital support for residents, but have highlighted just how caring our Dorset Council residents are.
With the help of local communities and volunteers, support with services such as food delivery, medication collection, dog walking, befriending and more, was made available to residents during the periods of lockdown. This would not have been possible without 7,000 plus volunteers and resilient Dorset Council communities.
Working closely with AgeUk North, South and West Dorset, Citizens Advice in DorsetHelp And Kindness, Volunteer Centre Dorset, Dorset Community Action and Dorset Community Foundation, volunteers have been matched to services to offer support.
Thousands of calls have been answered and regular wellbeing calls to the most vulnerable, isolated and lonely residents were made. Support for volunteers and organisations has also been available through weekly webinars and over £170,000 in grants has been awarded to groups that are helping vulnerable people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
To mark National Volunteers Week, charities across the UK will also be holding events to thank their volunteers and celebrate the power of volunteering. Last year there were over 600 events across the country, from award ceremonies to tea parties and barbecues.
For many charities the week will be a chance to showcase the range of volunteering opportunities on offer. Volunteer fairs and other events will be encouraged people to try volunteering for the first time and help people find out how, through volunteering, they can make a difference to a cause they are passionate about.
Cllr Val Pothecary, chairman of Dorset Council said: “This Volunteers Week, I want to take this opportunity to send a personal message of appreciation. It’s truly astonishing how many people have come forward to volunteer their support for neighbours and local communities during the COVID crisis.
“Now, as things start to get closer to something that resembles normality and local groups, clubs and organisations start to get going again, it’s important that we recognize everyone who gives up their time to help and support others year in year out.
“So, I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who volunteer in Dorset. Whether you’re someone who helps to support Council services or someone who volunteers with many groups and organisations that make Dorset such a very special place to be. Thank you.”
Volunteer Centre Dorset operates throughout the county enabling and promoting volunteering for all. Throughout the pandemic, they have supported vulnerable individuals with shopping, collecting prescriptions, dog walking, and more. This has only been possible thanks to the 3,500 plus volunteers that gave their time to help their community. On top of this, VCD has been working to support 160 plus community response groups who each have their own group of dedicated volunteers.
To find out more about volunteering in Dorset, or sign up to help visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/coronavirus and click on Communities and Volunteering.
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