Councillor Joy said: “In Hampshire volunteering has always played a crucial role but, during the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been particularly heartening and humbling to see this strong community spirit really flourish across the county.
“Numerous groups and thousands of volunteers have given and continue to give generously of their time and energy, providing immense support to those in need, through caring and selfless acts of humanity. Whether collecting medicine for shielding residents, delivering food and household supplies, or checking in on elderly or vulnerable neighbours – every act of kindness and solidarity has made a marked difference.
“To all our volunteers across Hampshire, I would like to give our heartfelt thanks. You are the backbone of our communities and we all owe you a huge debt of gratitude for all you have done and continue to do during these challenging times, making an exceptional and positive difference to people’s lives across the county. Thank you.
“I would also like to express our appreciation to everyone who took part in our volunteering survey earlier this summer, in collaboration with Hampshire’s CVS Network and the University of Winchester. The feedback and information collected will shape how volunteers can be recruited and mobilised going forward – building momentum on the local volunteering effort that we have seen throughout the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Looking ahead, while we may be making good strides in returning to a healthy ‘normal’, there are many in our communities who still rely on the help and support of the volunteers who stepped forward at the height of the pandemic to support the vulnerable. As we head into the autumn, and with the coronavirus still with us, we anticipate demand for support will start to grow again. Therefore, we need to say:
- To those who continue to volunteer – we thank you. Your support is invaluable, and please do stay with us.
- To those who may have recently stopped volunteering – we would like you to consider coming back, even if it is only for a couple of hours a week.
- To those who have never volunteered – now could be a great time to start.”
Tim Houghton, Chief Executive of Community First, on behalf of the Hampshire CVS Network said: “The generosity and willingness of Hampshire’s residents to help each other during the crisis has been simply amazing and on behalf of Hampshire’s CVS network we also say ‘thank you’. Local volunteer groups, charities and wider voluntary sector have never been more needed, and we now have a great opportunity to change for the better and maintain the commitment and enthusiasm shown by volunteers and a sense of local community belonging that makes lives better for all.
“Many charities and voluntary groups are still operating and are now busy reshaping and restarting services to prevent isolation, reduce loneliness and tackle the long-term mental health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic. There are a wide range of organisations on the frontline, including those providing children’s services, working with homeless people, delivering social care, or tackling domestic abuse who need your help now and into the future.
“If there’s a cause you care about, please reach out and offer whatever time and commitment you can – a little can go a long way.”To find out more about volunteering opportunities in Hampshire, go to: www.hampshirecvs.org.uk/volunteering/