Volunteers' Week 2020

Celebrating Volunteers across the UK

The Queen sent a message to volunteers to mark the end of Volunteers' Week 2020.

As Volunteers' Week draws to a close, it is inspiring to reflect on the many thousands of people, who through their acts of generosity and kindness, have achieved so much for the greater good.

I have been following with interest how men and women from around the world, including my own family, have been helping and recognising the vital role of the volunteer.

I send my best wishes to all those who give themselves so freely and selflessly in the service of others. 

Elizabeth R.  

Earlier in the week The Duchess of Cornwall sent a message to volunteers. Volunteers' Week is traditionally celebrated during the first week of June, this year's events have been cancelled. Instead, volunteers are being recognised for their efforts in tackling the effects of COVID-19.

RVS

RVS

This year in particular, we owe a great debt of thanks to all our wonderful volunteers, who have stepped forward in astonishing numbers, pulling together to support those affected by COVID-19. As the very proud President of The Royal Voluntary Service, I should like to say that you truly are the backbone of our country. To each and every volunteer- thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

 

The Royal Voluntary Service

As the proud President of The Royal Voluntary Service, The Duchess of Cornwall has shared a video message for their Virtual Village Hall to thank the thousands of volunteers supporting those in need, in hospitals and in the community, as well as the hundreds of thousands of NHS Volunteer Responders who are supporting the NHS during these difficult times.

Over 250,000 tasks have already been completed, with 98% of requests being met within 24hrs.

NHS Responders

Joining the team of NHS Volunteer Responders across the country, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duchess of Cambridge, The Countess of Wessex & The Duchess of Gloucester have all taken part in ‘check-in and chat’ calls with those self-isolating, vulnerable or elderly. 

The Duchess of Cornwall

The scheme is being delivered by the RVS, who have continued to provide their regular voluntary activity. The charity’s hundreds of social clubs and groups are unable to meet during this time so the Virtual Village Hall programme is designed to bring people together online, to enjoy activities at the same time.

RVS

The Royal Voluntary Service is delivering the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme, which supports vulnerable and older people during COVID-19, helping to reduce pressure on the NHS frontline. Over 250,000 tasks have already been performed, with 98% of requests being met within 24hrs.

 

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

This year’s winners of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service have been announced during Volunteers’ Week. It is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK and recognises outstanding work done in communities. Many of this year’s winners have adapted their work in response to COVID-19.

Action Foundation in Tyne & Wear supports vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.‬ Through volunteer interpreters who speak 15 different languages, the charity has been reaching out to people to translate essential COVID-19 information, as the situation develops. 

Action Foundation

NourishFoodbank in Tunbridge Wells has expanded its service to include doorstep delivery, ensuring people who can’t leave their homes can access essential supplies. 

Foodbank

‪To find out more about this year’s winners, and how you can nominate an outstanding volunteer organisation in your local area for the Award, visit: https://qavs.culture.gov.uk/

 

St John Ambulance Cymru

The Duchess of Gloucester, Commandant-in-Chief, St John Ambulance Cymru, has spoken to volunteers from the charity to hear about their work in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, during Volunteers’ Week.

St John Ambulance Cymru (SJAC) has increased and adapted its existing services over recent weeks, including:

  • Patient transfer services to and from hospitals
  • Providing Volunteer Care Assistants for newly-established field hospitals across Wales, including the Dragon’s Heart Hospital in Cardiff
  • Establishing deep clean centres for ambulances across the country

 

The Duchess spoke to the following volunteers and thanked them for their contribution to all of these efforts:

Richard, Chief Volunteer

Richard

Richard is an operational Police Officer with South Wales Police and is helping to oversee the charity’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kimberly, volunteer for Patient Transport Service

Kimberly

Kimberly joined St John Ambulance Cymru as a volunteer in 2016 and has been deployed to work with the charity’s Patient Transport Service, and is enjoying being part of frontline efforts.

Johanna, volunteer at Dragon’s Heart Hospital

Joanna

Johanna started volunteering with the charity six years ago and is a frontline volunteer at the Dragon’s Heart Field Hospital - the first time Johanna has worked in a hospital setting. Johanna feels privileged to be part of patient care at this time.

Dave, acting Commissioner for Powys

David

Dave joined St John Ambulance Cymru as a junior cadet in 1967. He has held a number of voluntary positions since then and is currently the acting Commissioner for Powys. 

Anthony, logistics and events volunteer

Anthony

Anthony joined St John Ambulance Cymru in 2016 and has been helping with the charity’s response by cleaning, decontaminating, emptying and restocking vehicles over the past few months.   

Mat, strategic COVID-19 response lead

Matt

Mat is a trained paramedic who started his career in the London Ambulance Service and has been volunteering with St John Ambulance Cymru since 2001.

The Samaritans

The Prince of Wales has shared a message of thanks to Samaritan volunteers for the time they dedicate to helping others Their network of over 20,000 volunteers provide a free, confidential listening service 24/7 for those who need it most.

His Royal Highness has been Patron of the Samaritans for more than twenty years. In 2013, The Prince visited the charity’s central office in London.

The Samaritans are also helping to look after those who care for us by launching a new confidential support line for NHS and social care workers, making sure they have someone to talk to during this difficult time. Find out more here https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/health-and-care/here-listen-s...

Conscious Youth

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have marked Volunteers’ Week by speaking to volunteers in different parts of the country to thank them for the support that they provide to their communities.

The Duke and Duchess called volunteers from two organisations that rely on their volunteer networks to help run and support their services: Conscious Youth which is based in Kirklees, West Yorkshire, and Machynlleth Community Corona Response in Powys, Wales.

In each of the calls, Their Royal Highnesses passed on their thanks for the time and commitment that each volunteer, and those from across the organisations’ wider volunteering networks, give to ensure the provision of support and services within their communities.

Over the past few weeks, The Duke and Duchess have been playing their own part in the national volunteering effort. In April, Their Royal Highnesses and their family visited the Sandringham Estate where they packed up and delivered food parcels to isolated pensioners in the local area.

Thank you for all the volunteering you’re doing, thank you for all the time and effort you’re putting in. You have been a lifeline to all the people who you’ve helped in the area.

The Duke of Cambridge to volunteers across the UK

The Duke has been volunteering for Shout85258, the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text line which was launched in May 2019 by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.