Time to say thanks to the volunteers supporting communities across Wales

As Volunteers’ Week begins today, Welsh Government is saying thank you to the thousands of volunteers of all ages including young people who are working so hard to support communities across Wales.

The lives of individuals and communities throughout Wales have been impacted in dramatic ways by the Covid-19 pandemic, but volunteers have stepped in to deliver food and medicines to neighbours, support the NHS, and find new ways to keep in contact with friends and neighbours through wellbeing chats and socially distanced check-ins.

This is a time when neighbours, community members and volunteers have become more vital than ever to support those in need.

With schools, further education colleges and universities closed, this is a great time for school leavers and young people to support their own wellbeing – and that of people in their community, by volunteering. Helping others is a very good way to boost self-esteem while keeping busy.

To mark Volunteers’ Week, Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, spoke to just a few of these young volunteers to personally thank them for the work they have been doing.

Jane Hutt, said:

“I want to say thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers who have been supporting their communities. I am amazed and inspired by the generosity shown by people, young and old, throughout Wales.

“Nearly 18,000 volunteers have offered their services since 1st March, with almost 3000 of those being aged under 25. If you haven’t yet thought about volunteering, please take a look at Volunteering Wales, and offer your services in whatever way suits you best.

“For young people, this could be the perfect time to support others, as well as boosting your own life experience and adding to your CV. It’s widely accepted that helping others is a very good way to boost your own wellbeing – and there is no doubt that thousands of volunteers are helping the wellbeing of others.

“The support of young volunteers will be needed more than ever when furlough ends. There are all sorts of roles which you can fill, from collecting and delivering provisions and medicines, to providing an online or phone ‘befriending’ service. If you haven’t been contacted yet, please be patient. You are needed and wanted, and your services are valued.

“Communities across Wales will feel the benefits of the kindness of volunteers as time goes on, with shared commitment reinforcing vibrant communities where individuals and groups have worked together to support those who are vulnerable. I hope that new friendships and partnerships can be formed, with people young and old supporting one another and feeling equally valued.

“It’s therefore only right that the key message of this week is ‘Time to Say Thanks’ and that’s exactly what we in the Welsh Government will be doing throughout this week. We encourage all our partners across Wales to do the same. It’s more important than ever for us to recognise the contribution that volunteers make, both during this crisis and in every aspect of life in Wales.

“Every single volunteer is valued and appreciated. Please continue to offer your services in whatever way suits you best – just be sure to keep yourself and others safe.”

Ruth Marks of Wales Council for Voluntary Action said:

“Today marks the beginning of a week-long campaign to acknowledge and show gratitude to the thousands of people that have given their time freely to support their communities. Each year, Volunteers’ Week gives us an important opportunity to say thank you to the inspiring people in Wales who help others every day.

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic started WCVA has seen an extraordinary influx of people volunteering to help their neighbours and people in vulnerable circumstances due to the crisis. So this year, more than ever, it’s an especially important time to recognise and thank Wales’ amazing volunteers for everything they do.”