Volunteers Week – a time to say thanks!

Every day thousands of people across West Lancs help others in their community by volunteering. It may be a formal volunteering role with a local organisation, or helping to run the local community group, or it could be helping their older neighbour next door. They all play a vital part in making sure families get fed, people have green spaces to enjoy, new people are welcomed, sick people get the provisions they need, lonely people have someone to connect to. They do it for little thanks, with no fanfare, and we’d be lost without them!

So in this Volunteers Week, we want to celebrate the invaluable work of volunteers – and take the time to say thank you.

Greg Mitten, CVS Chief Officer says:

“Volunteers Week is the opportunity for us to stop and give thanks to the thousands of volunteers across West Lancashire who give their time and incredible efforts to improve the lives of our community. To each of these volunteers for every minute of every day you carry out your volunteering roles in support of our community we say, ‘Thank You All’ – for helping to make West Lancashire a happier, healthier, safer place to be”.

A number of organisations have been telling us how volunteers have made all the difference to their work across West Lancs – especially over the last very difficult year.

Here’s just a few of the many ways volunteers have been helping and supporting in our communities:

Sewing vital PPE for hospitals, care homes and key workers

“As a small business, we are particularly indebted to the immense contribution they made during an increasingly challenging time due to Covid-19 by providing an essential PPE outreach sewing/delivery/collection service for hospitals, care homes and essential community workers.As we gradually move towards recovery from such a challenging time, we look forward to welcoming back, on site, our volunteers: thank you all so much!”

The Sewing Rooms

Keeping nature reserves maintained and managing visitor numbers:

“We are so grateful to the small group of dedicated volunteers who continued to help with essential maintenance at Gorse Hill Nature Reserve right through the Covid pandemic period from March 2020 to the present. There was a great increase in visitor numbers over the period which needed careful management to ensure safety protocols were being observed.

Gorse Hill Nature Reserve

Supporting vulnerable asylum seekers

“Skem International has begun some face-to-face work again, thanks to a new team of volunteers. They plan and run a weekly session which is of high quality and full of warmth and laughter. We have some vulnerable young men and they really benefit from these positive interactions.

We also have casework assistants and Meet & Greet volunteers.  This all adds to the experience and means that all involved feel they come away feeling something worthwhile has been achieved. Thanks to all.”

Skem International

Giving young people vital social connection – Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers

“These last 14 months have proved how amazing and versatile our volunteers have been, even during lockdown. Our leaders carried on providing meetings via zoom/teams to our Rainbows, Brownies, Guides, Rangers, having virtual overnights, or themed events joining members from all across the UK. Without these wonderful leaders our girls would have missed these opportunities and Girlguiding UK cannot thank them enough to show their appreciation.”

Providing food to the most vulnerable:

“As a service entirely provided by volunteers, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful volunteers of Ormskirk Foodbank, without whom we could not make a difference to those people in our community who cannot afford to buy essential food. So, thanks to those who, especially in this last year, have packed food parcels, worked in our warehouse, delivered food to those in need, distributed food from New Church House, dealt with admin and managed the service. We couldn’t do it without you!”

Ormskirk Food bank

Many people have also helped to directly support the NHS over the last year.  NHS West Lancashire CCG says:

“We have long valued the role volunteers play. Over the last year more than ever, we have seen the valued role volunteers have played. Whether as an NHS Volunteer Responder or supporting with delivery of medicines to those who were shielding, these volunteers have continued to play a range of important roles in keeping people connected and safe.  As we emerge from the COVID period, we are focused, through the West Lancashire Partnership, on further harnessing the power of volunteers. This will include focusing on what matters most to people in local communities to protect good health and prevent ill health within different population groups.”

Here at CVS over this last difficult year, we are proud to have co-ordinated teams of volunteers delivering essential medications to people who were shielding or vulnerable last summer and more recently, delivering oximeters to COVID patients at home.

Finally, the mayor of West Lancs, who himself volunteered for the NHS during the pandemic, adds his thanks to all volunteers across West Lancs:

I would like to express my sincere thanks, both personally, and on behalf of the Borough, to West Lancashire’s amazing volunteers. The support they have given to vulnerable people during the pandemic under very difficult circumstances has been particularly incredible. Having been a volunteer at Ormskirk Hospital during the course of the pandemic myself, I know only too well how rewarding the role of volunteer can be and how appreciated the volunteers are by the people they assist. I hope everyone will join me in recognising their invaluable contribution to our communities during Volunteers’ Week.

Mayor of West Lancashire, Councillor Gordon Johnson

Together we all say a big Thank You to the thousands of volunteers across West Lancs who have made such a difference – this year and every year!