A message to helpline volunteers from Simon Sherbersky, strategic director, and Tracey Cabache, operations director, of Torbay Community Development Trust:
As the third and hopefully final lockdown comes to an end, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you – our army of volunteers for all your help.
Thankfully here in Torbay, the effects of the pandemic have been largely mitigated as a result of your efforts and we like to think that no one has gone hungry and no one has become isolated as a result.
In the last 14 months, the Torbay Community Helpline has received more than 22,000 calls from more than 6,200 people – most needing help but an incredible 1,600 people - people like you, offering support.
As a result, we have been able to deliver shopping, pick up prescriptions and provide telephone befriending for those who need it.
We have also helped, through the efforts of the marshals and chaperones at the vaccination centres in Torquay and Brixham, to deliver 150,000 jabs to 85,000 people – 63 per cent of the population.
At times like these, we all feel lucky to live in a place like Torbay where we can rely on the kindness of our neighbours and even strangers to help when we most need it.
We could not have done it without you, and we simply cannot thank you enough. The people of Torbay will be forever in your debt. You have every reason to feel very proud.
Many of you have told us how you have enjoyed your volunteering.
Some of you are still working with us and we thank you for that – as the recovery period from this pandemic is going to be as challenging as the pandemic itself.
Some of you will have offered to volunteer – particularly at the local vaccination centres – and might not have heard from us yet.
Please stay with us as the centres are likely to be open at least until early September, and we are going to need more volunteers as others step down.
For those of you who have had to step back as other commitments like work, family, a social life (finally!) etc have returned, we’d like to think of you still as part of our team.
There are lots of opportunities to do help others in your community on an ad hoc basis, and lots of new volunteering opportunities emerging as we get back to some kind of normal.
If you would like to stay involved please have a look at www.torbaytogether.org.uk as there are some volunteering opportunities there that might be of interest.
On the same website you can also sign up to the Torbay Timebank, where you can offer your time, at any time, to anyone on the timebank needing help and for each hour you give, you receive one timebank credit which enables you to receive someone else’s time in return. No registration fee.
Register on the website, sign up to the Timebank and start to exchange your time with others.
If you’d like to get more involved in your local neighbourhood then join our Good Neighbour Network or just get in touch with your local community builder to find out what else is happening where you live.
Please hold on to your volunteer lanyard and continue to wear it with pride!
Last, but not least, when things are a little safer to gather, we will be inviting you all to a party to celebrate our collective efforts and the future for us all.
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