Thank You #COVID19 frontline volunteers #VolunteersWeek
Posted: 4 June 2020
We’d like to say thank you to all the people volunteering on the frontline during the pandemic.
Thank you to the NHS First Responders and to everyone taking part in grassroots neighbourhood groups springing up across the county such as Gravesend Mutual Aid who shared this impressive video from Guru Nanak Darbar.
— Gravesend Mutual Aid (@GravesendAid) May 14, 2020
People have been working hard delivering food and medical supplies with Kent’s voluntary groups and here’s a flavour of what’s been going on.
First up are Kent’s foodbanks, which help people in financial crisis and have seen an increase in need during COVID-19 at a time when many of their volunteers have had to self-isolate. They have responded to the crisis with food delivery services.
A big shout out to the Trussell Trust foodbanks in Dover, Deal, Folkestone, Faversham, Swale, Gravesham and Medway. Here’s a message from Swale Food Bank to their volunteers:
“Despite the challenges we all currently face, we couldn’t be prouder of our amazing team of volunteers who are still going out throughout the week, delivering food parcels and helping those who need it. “
And here’s a message to Shepway Foodbank’s 73 volunteers aged between 30 and 83!
“Every one of my volunteers deserves a gold medal for the commitment and support they have shown to Shepway Foodbank, our community, and me personally. To each of them, I would like to say a massive thank you and to tell them they are my true heroes.”
Foodbank use in Shepway went up more than 100% and donations went down in lockdown, so Francesca and Bradley from Hawkinge Town FC came up with an absolutely ingenious idea to help Shepway Foodbank get donations in, whilst adhering to Social Distancing measures – a drive-thru donation point at Hawkinge Town FC.
Within 3 days it was a reality. They sourced PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and organised a volunteer team who gave over 60 hours of their time to make it happen. It proved extremely popular with local residents, who themselves have been extraordinarily generous, donating a massive 1,565 items over the four days, weighing in at 562Kgs (88 stone). Read more here.
Nourish Community Foodbank in Tunbridge Wells have seen an “unprecedented increase” in need for their services. The team’s recent Queens Award for Voluntary Service was attributed to “the time, dedication and compassion from each and every one of our volunteers. They are the heartbeat of Nourish.” #QAVS2020 #TeamNourish
Over to Romney Marsh Day Centre to show what they have been doing – including transforming into a Community Support Hub, training more than 80 volunteers and packing and delivering 1,631 hot meals.
Fareshare Kent supply many of the foodbanks and are looking for more charities and community groups to sign up for their help so if you are struggling for donations, get in touch with them. They like many of these groups are looking for volunteers.
“Demand for Fareshare’s service has soared since the coronavirus outbreak, and we have been overwhelmed by the support of our volunteers! A big SHOUT OUT to husband and wife Ken and Jackie Smith who are also helping us five days a week! #VolunteersWeek2020 #FoodHeroes“
Ashford Borough Council have been working together with Ashford Volunteer Centre and have made a video and written poem (below). They are asking for nominations for Applause Ashford to recognise the contribution people are making to the community during the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.
Volunteers have been delivering hot meals for Age UK’s across Kent and Kent Volunteer Centre’s have been running befriending schemes by phone and delivering medicines. Swale CVS have been sharing testimonials from their volunteers. Here’s driver Ron talking about volunteering during the pandemic for #VolunteersWeek
Sittingbourne Invicta Rotary Club have spent 155 hours of volunteering time by calling people on their own to help prevent loneliness and check they are OK. “We’re really pleased to support the Swale Community and Voluntary Services Befriending Service during #VolunteersWeek,” they said.
Then there’s the people stitching Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from WI’s in Whitstable and elsewhere to rotary clubs. Here’s some pictures of the efforts of Chris from Tonbridge Rotary Club.
Lots of very grassroots groups have sprung up to meet demand. Here’s a quick round up of some schemes in Thanet from the Isle of Thanet News, including Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School who created visors for Margate’s QEQM Hospital!
Telephone helplines have been vital during the crisis.
Citizens Advice services across Kent, including NW Kent have been thanking their volunteers, who have been supporting people struggling to pay the bills and dealing with scammers abusing the pandemic, among other things.
Our 162 volunteers were part of the Citizens Advice in North & West Kent team that helped more than 12,000 people find a way forward this year with over 30,000 separate issues. We’re a proud part of the #WeAreCitizensAdvice team. #VolunteersWeek pic.twitter.com/8MzUOmWAt3
— CitizensAdviceNWKent (@CANWK1) June 4, 2020
— CitizensAdviceNWKent (@CANWK1) June 2, 2020
Nationally the NSPCC have seen a surge in calls from children – watch this video from KMTV. Domestic abuse charities have also seen a surge in referrals. A shout out to Kent groups, including Oasis, Rising Sun, Sateda, Choices, DAVSS.
Here’s a message from Sateda:
“This #VolunteersWeek we asked our volunteers to share their thoughts on volunteering with us. We are so thankful to all of our amazing volunteers who help us to deliver the much needed support to victims of domestic abuse. #TimetoSayThankyou”
We’ll finish with DAVSS, who say:
“Our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation. Thank you for your dedication, passion and support. #volunteersweek”
— DAVSS (@_DAVSS_) June 1, 2020