Published Monday, 1st June 2020
In recognition of Volunteers' Week 2020 we thank all of Reigate & Banstead's volunteers for their amazing work.
Community spirit is alive and well as record numbers sign up to volunteer across the borough following the Coronavirus outbreak.
In recognition of Volunteers’ Week 2020, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Voluntary Action Reigate & Banstead (VARB) want to highlight some of the amazing work carried out by our community heroes and to thank them all for their efforts.
Nearly 1,000 willing volunteers registered with VARB as the Coronavirus outbreak escalated - and since then, hundreds have been allocated to volunteering roles around the borough, working with a wide variety of organisations to help those most in need.
At the same time, there has been a fantastic response from local residents’ associations, churches and schools; and large numbers of volunteers have mobilised to form neighbourhood Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups – all helping to support residents and neighbours with shopping, prescriptions, and much more.
Established groups – particularly foodbanks and services for the elderly - have seen an increase in demand for many of their services.
Alisdair Semple, Chair of Trustees at VARB, said “We have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have volunteered to help others in their community during this difficult time. We are so grateful to all those who have registered with us; it is making a huge difference to the voluntary organisations around the borough who are benefiting from the skills and efforts of the volunteers we have allocated to them.”
There are now over 200 sources of support listed on the council’s online help directory and map, many of which are only possible thanks to the legion of local volunteers.
Around 45 volunteers are working directly with the Council delivering food, prescriptions and other essential items, as well as being a friendly voice on the end of a phone for vulnerable or isolated residents.
Catriona Sanderson signed up with VARB as a volunteer at the start of the outbreak and by mid-April was delivering prescriptions for a local pharmacy. She says: “it’s a real privilege to deliver prescriptions mainly to elderly people who are self-isolating and help them during these difficult times. Sometimes I have a quick chat on the door-step other times they call from inside to say thanks and I leave the prescription for them to pick up.”
To date, volunteers like Catriona have helped the council collect around 300 prescriptions, deliver over 2,200 hot meals and over 1,300 food parcels, as well as make almost 7,500 welfare and befriending calls.
Cllr Mark Brunt, Leader of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council said: “The contribution that volunteers have made to the council’s response and the wider community effort has been incredible. Your generosity and care make me very proud of our borough. I want to thank you all and am sure we will continue to work together as a community to support each other through these extraordinary times.”
Many of those receiving help have contacted us to say what a difference the volunteers have made. Linda Peck from Epsom Downs wrote to say “a huge THANK YOU for the food delivery which I received this morning, less than 24 hours after my daughter's initial contact. There was a large variety of goods, and much needed fresh fruit, which I am extremely grateful for, and the kindness of the people delivering!! Thanks again.”
As well as volunteering through organised groups, many are doing their bit by looking after friends and neighbours. It’s important that volunteers look after themselves too and the Healthy Surrey website has lots of tips and resources to help them do this.
If you want to help in other ways you can make a financial or food donation through the council’s website.