Volunteers Week 2020: Hundreds of organisations join forces to say ‘thank you’ to their fantastic volunteers

Friday, 29 May, 2020

BVSC is delighted to be part of a collaborative action of organisations championing a united response for Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June.  This week organisations across the UK are coming together to say a massive thank you to all volunteers.

Volunteers have played a vital role, from the floods in the winter to helping the nation through the current pandemic. They will go on to play a role in helping the nation get back to the things that we love as we ease out of lockdown. By joining forces in Volunteers’ Week 2020, we are aiming to increase visibility of the vital efforts that all volunteers have made this year.

Throughout the week organisations across the UK will be showcasing the amazing contribution volunteers have made.  At BVSC we will be joining in with others all through the week to recognise the support given to our organisation and the City of Birmingham by volunteers.

Starting today, Monday 1st June, the themes and focus for each day of Volunteers’ Week are as follows:

  • Monday - Listening & Support
  • Tuesday - Health & Well-being
  • Wednesday - Fundraising to support service delivery
  • Thursday - COVID-19 response and informal community civic action
  • Friday - Nature & the Outdoors
  • Saturday - Arts & Culture
  • Sunday - Sport & Leisure

Barbara Platts, Ageing Better volunteerBarbara Platts, like many of Birmingham's volunteers, had to suspend her volunteering activities when the lockdown began. Barbara and her fellow volunteers have found ways to stay in touch and support each other through this period. Barbara said:

"In normal times I fill a lot of my life doing volunteer work, helping running events at Warley Woods Community Trust, meeting up and supporting Carers who are looking after a loved one with mental health issues and contributing to Ageing Better at regular meetings.

"Things have changed, but where would I be without Zoom, Meet up, Whatsapp, Facebook etc.  I have daily chats with the carers group, we all look after someone with mental health issues and we continue to help each other with our problems. It is good to get support from someone who is in a similar situation to yourself and just talking about a problem helps to alleviate your worries. In these difficult times we need these support groups more than ever. We are still able to share our knowledge with each other even though it is not face to face and of course to show our sympathy and support. I am looking forward to getting back to face to face but I feel that I have a working system to get me through these times."

Today's theme for Volunteers' Week is Listening and Support. Many organisations provide year round listening services, where listening volunteers are there for anyone who needs someone. The Samaritans answer more than five million calls for help each year, and they can change the course of someone’s life. Pam Rutter, Deputy Director for Development and Engagement at Birmingham Samaritans said:

"There can have been very few times since WWII where the wellbeing of the whole country has been under so much pressure. Covid-19 has changed the game completely.  A week or two into lockdown it became clear to those of us working in the Birmingham branch of Samaritans just how important being a volunteer is to our own mental health. One volunteer told us why!"

"Listening is essential when you are talking  to a caller but is also part of the connection we have to one another, to the team, that sense of belonging matters. I love to be able to give a caller our full attention, being in the moment with them is a privilege. I value that, it gives me a sense of purpose and keeps me mindful of what really matters

"They say being able to help others is good for you and for me that’s true.  Supporting callers, the other people on my shift and doing my bit for the community has made me feel like I have been able to contribute in these difficult days. The  training programme taught me new skills, invaluable and transferable ones. I haven’t been a volunteer for very long but I love it, its helped me personally so much.  I think I’ll be there for a long time!’

Many Listening and Support charities who, prior to the Covid-19 situation, provided face to face services continue to provide that support online. If you need support please search the Covid-19 section of our Route 2 Wellbeing directory.

BVSC Chief Executive, Brian Carr said “our City’s volunteers are amazing and the commitment and enthusiasm they show enables the voluntary and community sector in Birmingham to deliver exceptional services across the city. We know that many are volunteering to support the consequences of COVID-19. This might be through organised volunteering or by stepping up informally to support their community. For others, it’s a challenging time as they are unable to volunteer in their much loved roles. Whether our volunteers are still active or currently taking a break we want to take this opportunity during Volunteers Week to send a big shout out and say thank you!”

Join us throughout the week!

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Share your stories by emailing: volunteersweek[at]bvsc[dot]org