02 Jun Essex County Council thanks volunteers who signed up in lockdown
The Covid-19 pandemic may have shut shops, kept families apart and stopped events but the community of Essex has gone the extra mile to look out for one another in all parts of the county during the lockdown.
This Volunteers’ Week, running from 1st June to 7th June, Essex County Council would like to thank the residents of Essex who signed up in lockdown to help others in their time of need.
Essex residents responded quickly when The Essex Welfare Service, commissioned by Essex County Council and delivered by local community interest company Provide, called for willing volunteers. The welfare service’s website enables members of the public to sign up as a volunteer and for those without the support of family, friends or neighbours to request support.
One resident who was helped by the service commented: “When I first called the Essex Welfare Service, I was really distressed, but the call taker was so patient and reassuring. They arranged for two food boxes to be delivered by volunteers and I’m now registered for priority delivery slots on supermarket websites. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts”.
As the lockdown eases Essex County Council is calling out to anyone feeling isolated or in need of some extra help to come forward, so they can be helped by one of the Essex Welfare Service’s army of willing volunteers.
The service is now assisting people of all ages and circumstances whatever their need – from a telephone chat to keep someone company or arranging delivery of food or medicines, to more individual help for people with disabilities, dementia, sensory loss or health conditions.
Support for those feeling isolated or lonely is also being provided through United in Kind, the social movement bringing together hundreds of community, charity, and voluntary groups from around Essex.
In Chelmsford, United in Kind, the social movement bringing together hundreds of community, charity, and voluntary groups from around Essex, sprang into action when they were contacted by an Outreach Officer at Deafblind, UK.
They were told about a 90-year-old deaf and blind man who was running short of food. Fearing that he would be a burden to others he started rationing his food and at one point did not eat for two days.
Volunteers signed up to United in Kind reached out through Facebook so that the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) team were quickly able to find someone to help. He is now receiving regular food supplies from the local community.
United in Kind Coach, Stella Scrivener, said: “It is heartening to see the whole community pull together to support someone who really needs it. Thank you to our volunteers! To those who need help, never be afraid to ask. The world is filled with helping-hands ready to help”.
Councillor Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Communities, Essex County Council, said: “Whilst the country, and indeed most of the world, have been in lockdown, we have seen a great outpouring of kindness by people in Essex. Volunteers for the Essex Welfare Service, in addition to the many hundreds of people who give their time to charity and community groups across the county, have ensured that our most vulnerable have received essential support.
I’d like to say ‘thank you’ on behalf of Essex County Council to all of the county’s volunteers, although ‘thank you’ just doesn’t seem to do it justice.”
To seek support for yourself or someone you know see www.essexwelfareservice.org.uk/ or to find out more about United in Kind see https://www.unitedinkind.org/