This week is Volunteers’ Week, which takes place each year from 1st-7th June and is an annual celebration of the contribution people make through volunteering.
This year it is more important than ever to say thank you to the vital volunteers that have been helping communities in all corners of the borough get through a national crisis.
Not only do volunteers help organisations to provide more to the people or services they serve, but volunteering is also invaluable to individuals themselves. It brings health benefits, opportunities for positive social interaction and friendships, and provides new skills or experiences beneficial for future employment.
The Mayor of Royal Greenwich, Councillor Linda Bird said: “Volunteers make such a significant contribution to our borough, and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is volunteering their time and skills to helping the community at this time. Whether you are helping an organisation, you’re a COVID-19 volunteer or you are helping neighbours in your local community, everything you are doing is making a big difference to people’s lives.”
Volunteer Centre Greenwich (VCG) helps potential volunteers to find suitable opportunities in a wide range of organisations in the borough.
Michelle Martin, Chief Executive of Volunteer Centre Greenwich, said: “At Volunteer Centre Greenwich, we are passionate about the benefits that volunteering can bring to the volunteer, the organisation and the community. Volunteers’ Week gives us an opportunity to thank all the volunteers for time and the difference that they make to the Royal Borough of Greenwich.”
Working closely with partners including Charlton Athletic Community Trust, VCG and GCDA, the Council launched the Community Hub on 27 March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 people came forward to volunteer through the Hub and between them have provided almost 32,000 hours of voluntary time in just seven weeks.
Conrad Dsouza, a professional chef from Woolwich, started volunteering with GCDA two days a week after approaching the Community Hub for volunteering opportunities. He has been part of a team who have been cooking and freezing up to 300 meals per day to support those residents who need it most.
He said: “I have a much-needed skill that is of benefit to a lot of people in our community right now – especially those who may otherwise struggle to support themselves. As I’ve been furloughed from my company, and being a healthy person myself, I wanted to give back to the community.
“I have to say, chefs like Shara and Connor who are part of my volunteering team, have made this experience great. They have been so supportive and share the same positive attitude for helping our community.
“It’s been a wonderful challenge to look at the ingredients we get donated by Fareshare and create meals that are delicious, satisfying and fulfilling for whoever eats them.”
If you are interested in volunteering visit vcgreenwich.org.uk
To find out more about the Royal Greenwich Community Hub, visit royalgreenwich.gov.uk/communityhub