A video highlighting the vital work of volunteers in Cumbria during covid has been launched.
The new ‘Volunteering in Cumbria’ video is being shared on the second anniversary of the formal declaration of a major incident in the county.
Since then, organisations, partners, and volunteers from across Cumbria have come together to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and support local communities.
To showcase and celebrate their achievements, Cumbria CVS launched the video via their social media channels, featuring the stories of volunteers who have made a huge difference during the pandemic.
The video says thank you to them, but also highlights that many charities and organisations still need more people to come forward and donate their time and skills.
Volunteers have been praised for their valuable contribution to our community with their actions described as ‘vital’ with community leaders expressing they ‘can’t say thank you enough.’
The charity hopes that as many people as possible watch the video, and share it on social media with friends, family, and their networks.
The celebration of the work of volunteers also shows how resilient Cumbrian communities have been during the pandemic and beyond.
Through sharing their stories, the aim is to inspire more people to come forward and volunteer.
The new video has been created by a Cumbria CVS Digital Volunteer, Jonny Gios from Kendal who says: “During the Pandemic I was really keen to help out in any way after volunteering with our Church and with the British Red Cross, I thought about wider networks and what could really benefit and where I could use my skills.
“I offered to volunteer my Digital Video skills to Cumbria CVS to create a Volunteering in Cumbria video as it was a great creative way to record what happened during Covid-19, but also to ensure volunteers are thanked.
“Cumbria is a large county and there is a lot going on across the 3rd Sector. I wanted to ensure that all those who had been volunteering across our communities were able to profile not just what they do, but the fact that they need volunteers to thrive.
“I really hope that this video not only celebrates what we’ve achieved but spurs others on to volunteer for the first time.”
Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, said: “The support we received from volunteers and voluntary organisations during the pandemic was exceptional.
“It made a huge difference to people in local communities and the ability of agencies like the council and the NHS to tackle the pandemic and get things done.
“Cumbrians have a proud track record of rising to the occasion when help is needed and I want to express my thanks, and that of the county council, to everyone who has stepped up to lend a hand over the last two years.”
Ian Newton, a volunteer from Carlisle and chaplain at the Cumberland Infirmary, says: “In the worst of the pandemic we witnessed the best of people. Volunteering brought together individuals from all walks of life willing to give all that they had in the support of others.
“I volunteer as an NHS Community Responder; volunteer at the Cumberland infirmary with the Chaplaincy Team each week, and I became one of the many volunteer vaccinators.
“As someone who previously didn’t like needles you do what you can to support your community. In the process you meet amazing, dedicated people.
“It has been a privilege to serve alongside them, to hear their stories, share their heartbreaks and to see the hope they bring”.
Susan Ireland, a volunteer from Kendal says: “I retired after a lifetime of working in Special needs education. I now volunteer as a driver taking people to appointments, shopping and to meet friends.
“I also volunteered as a Covid Volunteer Marshall in Kendal which has been great fun, flexible and lovely to do. It’s great to volunteer but also to be appreciated for and thanked.”
Barry Rigg FCMI, Head of Patient Experience at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust says: “Over the past two years, I’ve seen volunteers going over and above, every single day, giving time morning, noon and night, delivering meals on wheels food, checking in on vulnerable families, welcoming people in our hospital main entrances, offering face masks and hand hygiene instruction, moving product between hospital sites; volunteers have and continue to help out however they can.
“The contribution of every single volunteer has made such a difference. During the pandemic, our volunteers demonstrated the power of community.
“The help and support which the volunteers give on a regular basis each week does not go unnoticed. Our volunteers are a unique but integral part of the UHMBT NHS team, and are all very much appreciated.
“The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust continues to recruit volunteers in South Cumbria.”
Ed Tallis, Director of Primary Care for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), led the vaccine roll-out for north Cumbria and said: “The response from volunteers was astonishing and they were a vital part of making sure we got the vaccine out quickly and safely. They were out in all weathers, snow, hail, torrential rain and brilliant sunshine.
“They were simply fabulous. They weren’t there as helpers, they were an integral part of it. It simply wouldn’t have worked anywhere near as well without them. We cannot say thank you enough.”
Through volunteering it brings so many benefits to individuals through gaining new skills and experience, meeting new people, sharing knowledge, improving self-esteem and confidence and feeling part of a team, whilst making a difference to the local community.
Judith Smale, Volunteering Manager, Cumbria CVS, said: “I would like to say thank you to Jonny Gios for creating the Volunteering in Cumbria video and to all volunteers and organisations that took part.
“I really hope the video shows everyone in Cumbria how amazing volunteers and our local communities have been during the pandemic and beyond.
“A big cheer to all of them and a huge, big thank you to every person that either volunteered formally or informally through helping neighbours and vulnerable people in our communities.
“Charities and organisations still do need more volunteers so I hope the video shows the benefits and encourages new people to get involved. A small amount of time really can make a difference.”