This year, perhaps more so than ever before, we have seen the huge difference volunteers make to the lives of many people within our communities in Buckinghamshire.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1,800 people signed up via Buckinghamshire Council’s website to volunteer to help in our local communities. They joined the thousands of volunteers who already give their time for free to help deliver key services to our communities – both before and during this time of crisis.
To say thank you and to recognise the county’s volunteers who play such a crucial role, we are encouraging Bucks VCSE sector organisations to take part in Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2020). Whilst the landscape of our voluntary and community sector has changed immensely in the face of COVID-19, the dedication of new and existing volunteers continues to bring us hope.
Volunteers’ Week is a national awareness week which gives us in the sector the opportunity to both say thank you to our volunteers but also to highlight how important volunteering is and how everyone can make a difference.
How to get involved in Volunteers’ Week
Resources for Volunteers’ Week have not been updated in light of the pandemic but there are some images and ideas which may be useful. We are operating in very different times to previous years and our ‘thanks’ must be put into context; here are some tips for thanking and recognising your volunteers from our colleagues at NCVO*:
- Think how your messaging will be received. We’re all facing difficult times right now which changes how people may react to a celebration campaign. ‘Time to say Thanks’ is likely to go down better than ‘Time to Celebrate’ – so stick to using the logos** without the ‘celebration’ tagline and avoid party-related images.
- Keep telling volunteering stories. People are stepping up to help in ways we’ve not seen before in the UK. Telling their stories is a great way to recognise and thank them for all the great things they’re doing.
- Physical distancing is still important. Many organisations have events during Volunteers’ Week, but this would be breaking current social distancing rules and could put people at risk. Where possible, stick to online events
Finally, if you have volunteers who are unable to volunteer right now, they may be feeling frustrated or cut-off. Volunteers’ Week provides an excellent opportunity to re-engage with them – perhaps via a video chat or a phone call.
Support from Community Impact Bucks
We are here to support you with help and advice about recruiting, managing and supporting volunteers:
- If you’re looking for additional volunteers to support your COVID-19 response, please fill out the Volunteer Matching Service’s volunteer request form
- If you’re looking for volunteers with professional skills (e.g. marketing/IT/HR), you can register with our national partner Reach Volunteering
- We have developed a comprehensive set of resources to help you recruit and support volunteers effectively and safely in the current crisis
- With our experience and network of contacts, both at a county and a national level, we’re here to help you find solutions to your questions. Get in touch with us by email for help with any problems, large or small
- Finally, we have put together resources for you to share with your volunteers – to ensure that they have a safe and rewarding experience.
- However you decide to thank your volunteers this Volunteers’ Week, stay safe, and we’d love for you to share with us what you do: Tweet @communitybucks or email us.
- *Taken from NCVO’s Volunteers’ Week web page.
- **Available from NCVO’s Volunteers’ Week resources web page.