Since the beginning of the COVID-19 enforced lockdown, stories have been reported up and down the country, with examples of people going out of their way to help their friends, neighbours – and even strangers.
In Manchester, and specifically with us at The Fed, we have seen a clear indicator of people wanting to do their bit and help out where required.
During this period where anxiety and stress has reached unimaginable levels for some families and individuals, our Volunteering Team Deputy Manager, Tammi Wise, tells us what she’s discovered.
“We have had an amazing response from the community since March,” she said.
“So many people have called us, saying that they have time on their hands and want to make a contribution – they want to help others. In total over the last ten weeks, we have welcomed 93 new volunteers on board.
“Each of these volunteers have had phone interviews with Dalia Kaufman, our Recruitment and Training Officer, and have then received a Welcome Pack which was put together using material from our regular Induction Sessions.”
With dozens of families calling on The Fed to help, and with CAST (our Community Advice and Support Team) supporting almost 200 active cases across the community, having an army of committed volunteers has never been more crucial.
“These new volunteers – together with all our existing volunteers – have already displayed their commitment and willingness to engage in what we do,” Tammi continued.
“Because of their dedication, The Fed is able to deliver many hundreds of hours of phone support, which helps so many people to feel connected to the community at a time when isolation and loneliness is causing real anguish.
“They also assist us with shopping for people who are either self-isolating due to the pandemic or have absolutely no local family to help them.
“We are also mindful of some of our long-time volunteers who themselves are self-isolating, meaning they are unable to carry out some of their usual tasks. This influx of new volunteers means we haven’t been stuck to find someone able to support a client in need.
“We hope that these wonderful new recruits will stay with us for the long-term – they have made real and meaningful connections with vulnerable and lonely people, and have made tangible differences to countless peoples’ lives.”