Leader pays tribute to pandemic volunteers one year on

Published: Monday, 22 March 2021

Councillor Damian White, Leader of Havering Council, has paid tribute to the role of volunteers to support our most vulnerable residents.

Reflecting on the most challenging of times, one year after the pandemic began, Councillor White said:

"I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers and voluntary organisations that have been working tirelessly, sometimes putting themselves at risk to help others.

“It is safe to say that we could not have achieved as much as we have over the last year without the unwavering dedication and support from the volunteer sector.

“There are so many selfless deeds and actions, done by so many that it is difficult to name them individually.

"It is also difficult to try and do justice to the big (and sometimes small) ways that so many organisations have offered a helping hand throughout the year of the pandemic.

 “Havering is a special borough that has more than its fair share of kind, generous, friendly people who genuinely care about the wellbeing of others, and are willing to take an active role to support our vulnerable residents.

"Never has that been more evident than in this past year.

“We should all feel very proud of Havering’s response to the pandemic and of our volunteers who made such a significant difference in the lives of so many.

“From the befriending services to help people stay in touch and avoid loneliness, to the inventive online classes, the hot meals provision, dog walking, prescriptions deliveries, the list is endless.

“And looking to better days ahead, the volunteer response to help deliver the vaccination programme and the public response to their support, has been encouraging too.

“More than 1000 Havering residents have signed up to help with the vaccination programme, covering some 600 shifts to help greet residents, and assist them through the process.

"That is an impressive 11,000 volunteering hours so far.

“It is not just messages of thanks from grateful residents we have received and also seen on social media, but from volunteers, too.

"One volunteer said: Volunteering has taken my mind off my own problems, it has taken me out of myself, given me a purpose and I had a laugh as well. Something I have not done for a very long time.

“So once more I say thanks to everybody for what they have done, despite the hardship and sadness I know many have suffered,

"I am hoping we will start to see bright shoots of spring as we see more vaccines reaching our community.”

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