Registered volunteers matched where most needed during pandemic
The Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service has mobilised 1,000 volunteers to support communities across Buckinghamshire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Volunteer Matching Service is run by Community Impact Bucks in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council and The Clare Foundation, and was set up in Spring 2020 to support local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery periods and any local outbreaks that may arise.
The 1000th volunteer placed by the Volunteer Matching Service joins the many other volunteers who have volunteered directly with groups and informally within their community.
Volunteers have been matched to a wide variety of roles across the county including:
- 128 volunteers to frontline COVID response like delivering PPE and medicine and helping in food banks.
- 180 volunteer telephone befrienders to make calls to elderly and disabled people or those required to shield.
- 85 volunteers to support vital charity and voluntary services e.g. Lindengate, a mental health charity that has been supporting NHS staff, key workers and people who have been bereaved.
- 86 car park marshals for vaccination sites across the county
- 74 COVID Test Distributer volunteers placed with Buckinghamshire Council to help door-to-door COVID-19 testing.
- 56 volunteers to help in our hospitals with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
Claire Hawkes, Service Director for Localities and Strategic Partnerships at Buckinghamshire Council said: “We are so lucky in Buckinghamshire to have such fantastic community spirit and strong relationships with our partners. Running through this is a real ‘can do’ attitude by everyone involved, enabling swift support to our residents when they needed it; we are really confident this will continue long after the pandemic.”
“This milestone reflects the incredible community response which we have seen over the past 12 months with volunteers providing essential help to local services and support networks within our communities,” commented Katie Higginson, Chief Executive of Community Impact Bucks. “As volunteers stepped forward to help, the Volunteer Matching Service was set up overnight and has made sure that this fantastic resource was used where it was most needed – whether to help deliver an emergency response or enable voluntary organisations to expand or set up new services.
“Today’s achievement of ‘1000th match’ couldn’t have been done without our amazing dedicated matching team – the majority of whom are volunteers themselves and have helped run and develop the Service as it evolved through the year.”
Helen Mee, Head of Charity Operations at The Clare Foundation says: “It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with colleagues from Community Impact Bucks and the Council to manage the Volunteer Matching Service over the last 12 months; and it seems fitting that we have reached the 1,000 match milestone almost a year to the day since the service was first mooted. It is very humbling to be part of the team and to hear first-hand what a difference our volunteers’ contribution makes. The passion and dedication of our volunteers is inspirational.”
Steve Illman, a VMS volunteer who was initially matched to the role of COVID marshal at a vaccination site and is now a volunteer coordinator, said, “My interaction with the Volunteer Matching is two-fold – as a volunteer, it helped me find a role that I would have struggled to find and, as a volunteer coordinator, it is a reliable source of volunteers to keep the vaccination centres running so smoothly. On a personal level I, like other volunteers I have spoken to, are glad to be helping in whatever we can but really feel the benefits too – from feeling good that you are helping in some way to providing us with a bit of structure to the week.”
To find out more or to register with the Volunteer Matching Service, people can visit the Volunteer Matching Service web page. To read about the experiences of several Volunteer Matching Service volunteers, go to our case studies web page (select Volunteer Matching Service).
This press release was also issued by Buckinghamshire Council on 26 March 2021.
For any media enquiries, please contact Community Impact Bucks: firstname.lastname@example.org/ 0330 236 9350 or Rachel Prance at Buckinghamshire Council: email@example.com / 0771 1040 758
- Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service is run by Community Impact Bucks in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council and The Clare Foundation, and matches registered volunteers to roles where they are most needed in the county.
- 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.
- The Clare Foundation is an infrastructure charity which specialises in facilitating multi-stakeholder projects and programmes aimed at solving the key issues within Buckinghamshire. We bring together charities, businesses and the public sector and encourage collaborative working.