Generous citizens across Wales have been more than willing to give up their time for others – we share some stories from voluntary sector staff.
The public response to the ongoing crisis caused by the effects of Covid-19 in Wales has been huge from the outset and staff working in the voluntary sector are eager to demonstrate their commitment to go the extra mile too.
It’s been made abundantly clear over the last few weeks that there are a great number of people who are looking for the best way to help their local communities, and with that there comes an understanding from voluntary sector workers that we too need to rise to the occasion.
We’re seeing a community response and desire to volunteer nationwide at an unprecedented level, and while that is exactly what we need, it’s prompting the voluntary sector in Wales to dig deeper to make sure we can accommodate everyone’s needs.
Wrexham steps up
AVOW saw a huge response to their call for volunteers, with over 350 people being placed into volunteering opportunities around the Wrexham area to support staff delivering frontline services in the area. As John Gallanders, Chief Officer at AVOW said ‘without their help vulnerable people would have and would continue to face a much more uncertain few weeks.’
AVOW also set up a scheme in conjunction with Cllr Phil Wynn and Dr Graham Sperey-Taylor to 3D print more than 1,000 visors for frontline health workers, situated in Ysgol Clywedog in Wrexham, to be distributed across North Wales. Fundraising efforts to ensure the production have seen over £13,000 raised so far from incredibly generous public donations (donations can be made through https://avow.org/donate/)
Another example of voluntary groups and individuals coming together can be found in Maesgeirchen in North Wales. Jess Silvester is a Community Development worker for MaesNi, and has seen a remarkable coming together in the community.
Volunteers are cooking and delivering 84 meals weekly to over-70s and making sure they’ve got everything they need; collecting regular prescriptions and shopping for over 30 individuals; topping up electricity and gas; collecting surplus food from supermarkets, sorting it and distributing it along with cooked meals (780 so far!) every other day to over 40 households who find themselves struggling to pay for food. They have also set up a crash-fund accessible by anyone who finds themselves without funds for essential items and bills – this has so far been used by over 90 people.
Jess said ‘everyone has come together to build a support system for anyone who needs it – residents, volunteers and voluntary groups (Hive community café, Maesgeirchen Partnership, North Wales Recovery Communities at Penrhyn House and local councillors), making the most of all our resources!’
With such extraordinarily high levels of interest in helping out, obviously it may take longer than usual to accommodate everyone’s needs, interests and skills, and we’d ask people eager to help out to take this into account, but if there’s one thing this proves is that there is the will in Wales to help in whatever way possible – it’s the voluntary sector’s job to make sure there’s a way.