Published: Monday, 27th April 2020
Public sector bodies have come out to thank the more than 3,000 people across the county who have signed up to offer their support to others during the coronavirus pandemic.
When lockdown first started, council staff were redeployed to help those in need, with people from areas such as libraries and leisure centres answering calls from the public and delivering food parcels.
And while these staff continue to serve our communities, a stream of volunteers who have signed up through Voluntary Norfolk are now also being deployed to provide vital support.
Alan Hopley, CEO of Voluntary Norfolk, said: “We have been astounded by the fantastic response we have had to our call for volunteers. People are really keen to help at this critical time and to support the incredible work being done by NHS staff and other key workers.
“We are working our way through the list of 3,000 people who have registered to ensure they can be deployed quickly and safely. Some of the tasks they will be carrying out require DBS checks, and we need to make sure these have happened before people start their roles.”
He was keen to stress volunteers would be needed not only in the short term, but throughout the pandemic and in the recovery phase which follows. His message to those who are waiting to be deployed is ‘we thank you for offering your help and we will be calling on you’.
“Bringing our communities together is extremely important, not only now but as we go through recovery. The role of the COVID-19 volunteers will change over time, but they will be needed just as much in the coming weeks and months as they are now,” said Mr Hopley.
“If you have signed up and are waiting to volunteer, please be reassured that we are extremely grateful for your show of support and will be calling on your help.”
People who have signed up to volunteer but have not heard anything back from Voluntary Norfolk are asked to check their junk email folders or email the firstname.lastname@example.org and they will investigate.
Volunteers who are waiting to be placed into roles but are keen to help now can still offer support close to home, by completing a Here to Help postcard available to download from the Norfolk County Council website and putting through neighbours’ doors.
Anyone who is in need of assistance during this time should contact Norfolk County Council’s dedicated helpline on 0344 800 8020 or visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus They can also contact their local council via telephone or through their website.