Volunteers thanked in Buckinghamshire and call for more volunteers as charities are stretched
Hundreds of charities, voluntary and community groups and social enterprises in Buckinghamshire are saying thank you this week to their volunteers who have helped deliver key services to local communities in the past year – both in roles specific to the pandemic as well as non-pandemic support vital to our communities.
The message of thanks is made during Volunteers’ Week 2021, a national campaign which gives volunteer-involving groups a chance to publicly thank their helpers, and comes with recognition that they were key to the delivery of many much-needed services during the pandemic.
On average, a Buckinghamshire charity receives 355 volunteer hours per month* (the equivalent of £37,956 per year paid work **), enabling it to increase its capacity to help significantly. Despite this there is an urgent need for more volunteers in the county with 40% of VCSE organisations feeling stretched or overstretched in terms of volunteering levels, which ultimately will have an impact on its operations.*
Steve Bowles, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said:
“Over the past 15 months of the pandemic, volunteers have provided essential help to local services and support networks within our Buckinghamshire communities. To recognise their efforts and their invaluable help, Buckinghamshire Council and the VCSE Recovery Board is encouraging local volunteer-involving organisations to take part in Volunteers Week 2021. This is a great way to thank volunteers publicly as well as highlight how easy it is to volunteer and make a positive difference. With the help of volunteers, we can all continue to be #ProudofBucks!”
“The public response to the call for help has been incredible – as a sector, we recognise that we couldn’t have provided the depth and breadth of help in the county without our volunteers.” commented Community Impact Bucks’ Chief Executive Katie Higginson. “However, as people’s circumstances have changed, we now need a new wave of volunteers. There are opportunities to suit everyone, ranging from regular commitment to short-term tasks, or from being home-based to out in the community. If you want to make a difference, take the next step and sign up to the Buckinghamshire Volunteering Matching Service to find a role that matches your interests and availability.”
The Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service has placed over 1,100 volunteers since it was set up in March 2020 to mobilise volunteers to where they were most needed. It currently has a wide range of volunteer opportunities from volunteer driver roles, befrienders and mentors, to helping at schools and clubs in the community. Anyone over 18 years old and living in Buckinghamshire can register with the Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service to be matched to a suitable role.
Visit Community Impact Bucks to read a range of Bucks volunteer stories.
* ref State of the Sector survey/February 2021
** ref amount calculated using the national living wage for people 23