Date issued: 17 April 2020
Hundreds of local people have come forward to offer their services to help the One Colchester response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Since the outbreak started, Community360 have registered an extra 300 people as a volunteer – offering to do essential tasks for the most vulnerable people in Colchester’s community. They are supporting with a wide range of tasks – from phoning people who are on their own for a chat to collecting and delivering essential medicines and food.
Councillor Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, praised the town’s public spirit, saying: “The response from the people of Colchester to the call for volunteers has been magnificent and I’m very proud of all the great work that is going on to support our most vulnerable residents. I want to say a huge thank you to every single person who has volunteered. I hope that when the crisis is over we continue with this fantastic community effort and community spirit.”
Work is ongoing to match those who need help with suitable volunteers. Whilst One Colchester is delighted with the response from local people so far, we are aware that some volunteers have yet to be given a role and don’t want them to feel disheartened as it’s clear that more volunteers are needed in the coming weeks and months.
Tracy Rudling, CEO at Community360, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness from the community and the number of people that have contacted us offering their time to help those that are most in need.
“We’re harnessing all the goodwill and will call on you as you have indicated that you are ready to help. This might not be tomorrow, or next week, but it might be in several weeks’ time, as we know this is ongoing for some time to come.
“The important thing is that we get the resources we’re going to need in place now, so that we’re as well prepared as we can be. Volunteers are our unsung heroes and are busy working front and centre with frontline staff, mainly collecting and delivering prescriptions, helping with shopping, making up of food parcels and delivering these to our most vulnerable shielded citizens. As of next week, volunteers will also carry out befriending calls. Home from hospital volunteers have been supporting the discharge of patients from the hospital and carrying out follow up welfare calls with patients.”
Community360 has been receiving some heartfelt thank you messages from residents who are receiving support from volunteers, including one from a resident who was advised to self-isolate for 3 months. They are a single parent and struggled for the first couple of weeks of shut down without any support network. She spoke to Community360 and had a food package delivered the same day and their prescription the day after.
She said: “The help and prompt response was overwhelming it reduced me to tears for the relief that I finally had help and didn’t have to endure the shops anymore...you even gave my daughter an Easter egg, wow, what compassionate people you are. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your help and support in such horrible times. You’re all doing an amazing job.”
Pam Donnelly, Chair of One Colchester, said: “All One Colchester partners are working together to ensure our most vulnerable residents are supported and kept as safe and well as possible in these difficult times.
“I want to say thank you to every single volunteer and to encourage anyone who is thinking of volunteering to get in touch with Community360 to find out more.”
If you need volunteer help or would like to volunteer, please email email@example.com or call 012016 505250.
The council, voluntary sector, police, health, education and the business community along with many others make up the One Colchester partnership and are committed to close collaboration in support of our communities.
Keep up to date with the latest news at www.colchester.gov.uk/coronavirus
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