Thanking our volunteers

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Bedford River Clean up young volunteers
Volunteers taking part in Bedford River Clean Up in 2019

This week is Volunteer Week 2020, (1 – 7 June) and I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all of the volunteers in the Borough.

This year my thank you is even bigger than normal, with so many people volunteering during the Coronavirus pandemic to help others.

We have had around 1,000 people volunteers for the Council’s Community Hub and even more volunteering through local Kindness Groups and locally with friends, neighbours, religious groups and our uniformed organisations.

An extra big thank you to everyone who has volunteered – you really have made the difference to so many people’s lives.

I have been humbled by how many people have volunteered to help at this time – for a period of time the Community Hub had more volunteers than requests for help from vulnerable people.

All of the time and effort that our amazing volunteers give really are key in making Bedford Borough what it is.

The Community Hub has so far delivered over 3,000 food parcels and over 400 hygiene packs to vulnerable residents, undertaken over 1,000 shopping trips and collected almost 1,000 prescriptions.

Outside of the Coronavirus pandemic, volunteering is very important. It has been estimated by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations that volunteering saves charities across the UK more than £20million a year.

The Council also benefits from volunteering, with residents undertaking litter-picks and keeping our parks and local communities clean.

Many local residents volunteer at The Higgins and our local libraries, helping to provide a service we might not otherwise to provide at the same level as we would normally do.

You may have also seen we are currently asking local residents to assist with watering our young trees near their homes during this hot weather to help them survive to maturity.

All councils are facing additional pressures going forward, partly due to Coronavirus and there is inevitable less money to provide services.

As a result volunteering will become even more important across the whole country.

Later in the week the Council will be highlighting some examples of volunteering and celebrating some of our volunteering successes.

If you would like more information on volunteering please visit cvsbeds.org.uk/volunteering/

Remember, if you are in need of support, please contact the Community Hub atwww.bedford.gov.uk/covid19  or call us on 01234 718101.

This is a monthly guest column provided by
Mayor Dave Hodgson and published unedited.

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