Throughout the year, volunteers work hard to help to build strong and resilient communities, bringing people together and doing work to make their community better places to live. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, volunteers have been vital to supporting the work of the council and partners, making sure people are safe in their homes. Barnsley Council, along with partners Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group and Barnsley CVS, Barnsley Hospital and South West Yorkshire NHS Partnership Foundation Trust (SWYPFT) are celebrating this years’ Volunteer’s Week, showcasing examples of volunteering across the borough, showing the Barnsley spirit that is helping to keep communities safe.
A great example of this is the volunteers who have signed up through the Community Responder scheme, helping to deliver emergency food parcels, shopping, medication and making phone calls, so people don’t get lonely while following government advice to stay at home. This work has been essential to making sure that people who need emergency support can access it quickly and easily.
One of the council’s Community Responders, Paul, gave a heartfelt response to his role and the impact it has had for the people he has helped. Paul said: “After having my first call as a Community Responder working for the South Area Team, it put things into perspective for me hearing the excitement in someone’s voice that they can talk to someone. That will last with me for a long time.”
As well as those who volunteer with schemes and in community groups, there are many people who undertake volunteering activities in their daily life. Part of the campaign sets out to encourage more people to look out for opportunities that they can get involved and help to make improvements where they live.
People are encouraged to join in to show their appreciation by clapping for a minute to celebrate the excellent efforts of volunteers across the borough on Thursday 4 June at 8 pm.
Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council, said “The support and dedication of our residents and communities are essential to keeping Barnsley moving, now and in the future. I thank all of our volunteers, key workers, colleagues, partners and residents for doing their bit to build stronger and more resilient communities, in a different way to meet the ‘new normal’ that we face.”
The NHS has also seen great result in volunteering efforts through the scheme too. Dr Nick Balac, Chair Barnsley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “To see how people have stepped forward to look out for one another in their communities over these recent weeks has been amazing. As a GP, I see the difference that generosity and compassion make when we all look out for each other. When you volunteer, you bring your own set of skills and experiences which are hugely valued. The role volunteers play, at all times, not just in recent weeks, to the health and wellbeing of us all in Barnsley shouldn’t be underestimated, it’s incredible.”
Follow the campaign on social media searching for #BarnsleySpirit and by following the council social media pages on Facebook and Twitter at @BarnsleyCouncil and Instagram at @BarnsleyCouncilOfficial.