This week people from across the UK have been coming together to say a massive thank you to millions of volunteers. Today we are sending out a special shout out to all volunteers who have actively supported the COVID-19 response and those who have been ‘great neighbours’. There are hundreds of thousands of households and individuals who may be shielding who have benefitted from acts of kindness like someone walking their dog or helping with their shopping. These people often don’t see themselves a volunteers but they are. We want to take this time to say thank you and hope that their acts of kindness now turn into acts of habit later.
The #WaveForVolunteers was started by Volunteering Australia in May and we would like to continue this campaign in the UK during Volunteers Week 2020. We are encouraging everyone, including those whose lives have been touched by volunteers, to say thank you. You can join in by simply taking a photo of yourself waving to volunteers with a smiley face on your hand and post it on social media using #WaveForVolunteers and #VolunteersWeek.
Volunteers have been the lifeblood of our communities in recent months. They are keeping us connected and in the coming weeks they will go on to play a role in helping us get back to the things that we love. By joining forces in Volunteers Week 2020, we are aiming to increase visibility of the vital efforts that all volunteers have made this year.
Rachael Tratt has been actively supporting the pandemic by volunteering with #BrumTogether, packing and delivering food parcels. She has also been organising collections of food from her friends, largely in the Jewellery Quarter area.
“I heard about BrumTogether through the Selly Park South Community Response to Covid-19 Facebook group. I’m currently on furlough and have many friends who are nurses working on the frontline, so I wanted to do my bit to support others.
“Initially, I signed up to help with packing and delivering supplies. to I have been linking in with Chris Hasler who has orchestrated deliveries in Selly Park and the surrounding area. Our team of volunteers now collect and deliver enough to feed over 180 people each week. We have six volunteer drivers, two people who deliver food on foot and one person who travels by tricycle.
I have also been working with Katie, the Active Streets Lead from The Active Wellbeing Society, on Active Streets Share to set up a local box collection scheme to help restock the BrumTogether food supplies. I’ve given friends boxes which are put out on local streets every Thursday evening 6-8pm, which residents can use to donate food. We have been able to involve people who live in flats and those who can’t travel to donate supplies. The scheme has been a huge success, we had a car boot full of donations in the first week!
Hearing about how many people BrumTogether have helped and seeing the impact of what I’m doing keeps me going.
It’s amazing to see how a little bit of help, with things like street donations, supports big collective actions. Sometimes people don’t realise that it can just take small efforts such as putting a box outside your house to have a really positive impact.
It’s only through Katie that I have had the confidence to organise my collection box scheme and am hoping to use this going forwards to do further good and keep up community spirit in my street’.”
Karen Creavin, Chief Executive of The Active Wellbeing Society, said: “It wouldn’t be possible to deliver all of the food parcels, as well as the other forms of support being provided by #BrumTogether without the many volunteers, who are out there every day making it happen.
“Thank you to all of those volunteers, as well as our partners and local businesses, for everything they have done, and are continuing to do, to help get vital supplies and services to the city’s vulnerable communities. It really is a team effort and the amount of hours and support that’s being put in by everybody is truly amazing.”
Stephen Raybould, Programmes Director (Ageing Better) at BVSC said “We know there are many amongst our City’s volunteers who are volunteering to support the consequences of COVID-19. This might be through organised volunteering or by stepping up informally to support their community. We want to take this opportunity today, during Volunteers Week, to #WaveForVolunteers and highlight the efforts of volunteers during the pandemic”.