Bucks charities and community groups take part in national awareness week
Organisations throughout Buckinghamshire are saying ‘thank you’ to their volunteers as part of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2020), a national awareness week which gives volunteer-involving groups a chance to publicly thank their volunteers for their invaluable help.
Over 9000 people have stepped forward to volunteer in Buckinghamshire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including those registering with NHS Volunteer Responders, Buckinghamshire Council and directly with local groups*. These people have joined the thousands of volunteers who already give their time for free in the county to help deliver key services to our communities – both before and during this time of crisis.
“This year, perhaps more so than ever before, we have seen the huge difference volunteers can make,” commented Community Impact Bucks’ Chief Executive Katie Higginson. “We are living in difficult times and the way volunteers have come together illustrates how vital this sort of voluntary action is and why it is the glue that holds a community together.”
Cllr Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “The amazing response of volunteers across Bucks has been a real positive to come out of this pandemic. Our community is stronger and more united than it’s been for a long time. As a new Unitary Council, we’re looking forward to building on the close partnership with voluntary and community organisations.”
Below are four short case studies of volunteers in Buckinghamshire (for full case studies including photos, and other volunteer case studies, click here):
Bucks-wide COVID-19 remote volunteer – Ellie Walpole, Volunteer Matching Service: Volunteering from home, Ellie joined Community Impact Bucks to support the Volunteer Matching Service. Her role involves contacting people who registered with Buckinghamshire Council to volunteer, as well as placing volunteers with Bucks organisations which are in need of an extra pair of hands. “There’s so much positivity out there and willingness to help. Everyone is so grateful to have a call and the opportunity to dig in to help.”
Chiltern warehouse co-ordinator volunteer – Kizzy Ross, Chiltern Foodbank: Kizzy has been volunteering as the warehouse co-ordinator for Chiltern Foodbank for over six years. She normally volunteers 1-2 days a week, however, since the COVID-19 pandemic, she is now volunteering Monday-Friday to deal with the extra demand. Kizzy said: “I love my role at Chiltern Foodbank, and part of the joy of volunteering is being with a great team, meeting new people and making new friends”. Kizzy also likes talking to others, and lending an ear, and feels her contribution is helping to make a difference within her community.
High Wycombe COVID-19 volunteer – Mike Collier, High Wycombe Mutual Aid: Mike started volunteering by collecting shopping and prescriptions for people who are self-isolating and is now delivering flyers to homes around High Wycombe to let people know what is available, and also joined the team that matches people’s needs with those who have volunteered to help. Mike says: “I enjoy the follow-up phone calls to people who our buddies have helped, and they are invariably delighted with the support they have been getting. Hopefully, it has meant that they have been able to make it through these troubled times a little more easily than would otherwise have been the case.”
Aylesbury Vale volunteer counsellor – Michele Hunt, Aylesbury Vale & Milton Keynes Sexual Assault and Abuse Support Service: Michele has been volunteering at the Aylesbury Vale & Milton Keynes Sexual Assault and Abuse Support Service (SAASS) for over three years as a counsellor. She says: “I believe in the benefits of counselling and volunteering as it opens out this service to people who may not normally have access to it”. The role used to involve meeting clients face-to-face, however, due to COVID-19, the counselling sessions are now offered either online or via the telephone. This has provided its own challenges as not everyone has a space where they can talk privately.
Community Impact Bucks provides support to charities and voluntary groups operating in Buckinghamshire, providing advice and guidance through dedicated COVID-19 webpages and on a one-to-one basis. Voluntary groups and volunteers looking for advice during the pandemic, or people looking to volunteer, can find help here.
Click here to hear our Mimi Harker, Chairman of Community Impact Bucks, saying thank you to all the volunteers in the Buckinghamshire.
Photos of the volunteers featured in the press release are available for use. For photos and any media enquiries, please contact Rachel Fisher or Chanel Smith
E: firstname.lastname@example.org / T: 01844 617216
E: email@example.com/ T: 01844 617227
*As of April 2020, 7513 registered for NHS Bucks CCG area via NHS Volunteer Responders, 1800 directly with Buckinghamshire Council.
Notes for Editors:
- Community Impact Bucks is an independent charity that supports people and groups to get involved and make a difference in Buckinghamshire communities. We offer expert advice and training, help people to find volunteering opportunities, and help charities and not for profit groups to get started, be effective and grow.
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Impact Bucks has brought together a range of advice and guidance to support the voluntary sector , is in dialogue with local partners and national voluntary sector bodies and is sharing information, knowledge, and ideas as changes unfold.
- The Bucks Volunteer Matching Service was created to ensure these volunteers are deployed where, when, and how they are needed throughout the crisis and to help our communities recover. The service is provided by Community Impact Bucks, working together with Buckinghamshire Council and the Clare Foundation. There is now a pool of volunteers ready to support local charities, community groups and other volunteer-involving organisations like health services. For more information, read Bucks Volunteer Matching Service and volunteer request form.
- Community Impact Bucks is the Volunteer Centre, the Council for Voluntary Services, and the Rural Community Council for Buckinghamshire.
- For more information on #VolunteersWeek, which is run by NCVO, visit Volunteers’ Week.