Time To Say Thanks

This week is Volunteers’ Week, the week we had planned to hold a big celebratory party thanking all volunteers for their hard work, dedication and the time they give to supporting local organisations and communities.

Whilst we may not be able to physically come together and hold a summer celebration in person, we still want to make noise and say a massive THANK YOU to all volunteers; those who, before the pandemic, dedicated hours of their time to support local organisations and services and those who volunteer now, to help people get through the Covid-19 crisis.

Volunteering in the Covid-19 crisis

Since the start of the enforced lockdown and isolation, we at VASWS saw a huge surge in the volume of people registering to volunteer – it has been incredible.

We have been overwhelmed by the support people have shown in Guildford and Waverley and across the country and this support has meant those who are vulnerable have been able to access shopping, food and prescriptions.

Those who are isolated/experiencing loneliness have also been able to make new friends and have regular conversations by volunteers phoning for a chat, ensuring they are not alone.

According to a study cited in the Guardian, an outstanding ten million adults have been volunteering in their communities and most say they will carry on when lockdown ends.

This is fantastic, people across the country have been getting stuck into helping their local communities and neighbours through what has been an unsettling, scary and uncertain time.

It has been extremely positive to see people working together as a community, showing how volunteering helps to change the lives of many, including the volunteer who has been able to do something proactive and positive in a time where negativity is all around.

Positive stories

To learn more about the experiences of organisations, local support groups and volunteers  during the crisis, we sent a message to find out how it has been going. The organisations who have responded to us have all expressed their gratitude and thanks to the volunteers, as well as sharing some of their stories. Please see these below –  they will certainly put a smile on your face, like they did for us!

Could you volunteer?

When services are fully operational we have various volunteering roles to suit everybody. Some of the organisations are still closed for the time being, however, why not visit our volunteer opportunities page, scroll through and make a list of things you might like to apply for when the restrictions are lifted. Think outside the box and imagine coming out of your comfort zone, doing something new and exciting.

Happy Volunteers’ Week from us all at VASWS and a huge THANK YOU to all volunteers, for all the work you do for the sector. We could not do it without you!

If you have any questions, please give us a ring on 01483 565459 or email communitypoint@vasws.org.uk

Thankyous from local organisations and volunteer stories

Busbridge and Hambledon Churches: “We could not do this without you and you have been amazing.  Enormous thanks.”

Alastair Shanks, Right at Home: “I am hugely grateful to the 170 or so people who have signed up to become Friends of Right at Home. They have been absolutely amazing, supporting those isolating with shopping trips and friendship. We have had incredible feedback from those we are supporting about how caring and compassionate the volunteers have been and new friendships made. I am immensely proud of the difference we have been able to make across South West Surrey and none of that would have been possible without these fantastic volunteers.”  

Shamley Green Village Care: “A big thank you to all our new volunteers in Shamley Green for their time and friendship to our older residents.”

Farnham &Villages Coronavirus Helpline: “A huge thank you all of you who have given up your time to help others in the community. We have been so impressed by how positive everyone is and how keen to help you are – whenever  we ‘phone a volunteer with a request for help, the answer is always yes! It is a pleasure working with you all.” 

Cranleigh Food Bank: “We as a steering committee would like to thank all our volunteers for their enthusiasm, commitment, flexibility  and positive spirit that makes up our team serving in this local community  We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.”

Woncare: “A HUGE thank you to all our volunteers who have willingly queued at shops and the post office, negotiated the frustrations of online shopping, queued at the pharmacy and delivered with a smile and a wave to all those who are not able to get out and about at this time. And to all those that have made contact with and are looking out for neighbours. Never forget that everyone who is elderly or self-isolating is so pleased to hear from a neighbour and get a wave through the window from a friendly face and Woncare is getting messages that ALL your efforts are being so much appreciated.”

A volunteer who has helped Blind Veterans: “I’ve signed up with The Blind Veterans as a phone befriender and now enjoy a weekly call to two different veterans. They are both very thankful for the conversation as lockdown has completely stopped all of their usual social activities. It’s lovely to chat with them and it feels like something that is helping them get through this time. Really glad I signed up!”

James Croft: “My project Front Door Photos – family portraits on the doorstep – is raising money for Your Sanctuary. I’ve been bringing some cheer and creating positive memories for Surrey families.”