Each year Volunteers Week takes place 1st to 7th June, but this year it is a special opportunity to shine a light on the thousands of volunteers who have gone the extra mile (and beyond) during coronavirus.
For infection control and safety reasons most hospital based volunteers were stood down at the start of the lock-down, but since then new ways have been created to enable volunteers to play a crucial role in addressing the pandemic’s social impact on patients and healthcare staff. Take Royal Edinburgh Hospital, which provides acute psychiatric and mental health services and has a long-standing volunteering partnership with Volunteer Edinburgh . During the lock-down in-patients have lost their usual face to face interaction with families, visitors and volunteers, and haven’t had access to local shops and amenities. But a team of volunteers was quickly established to act as ward runners, fetching messages for patients from the local shops (snacks, toiletries, sanitary products, sweets, sandwiches etc). Volunteer Edinburgh reports that the manager of the local Sainsburys has been ‘fantastic’, and some days volunteers are carrying out as many as 50 shopping orders for patients. All of this has involved strict infection control measures to be put in place and does not involve any direct contact with patients or wards.
More about Volunteers Week 2020
- Get all generations/demographics saying, ‘thank you’ and being creative in their thanks
- Allow ‘beneficiaries’, communities and stakeholders to say thank you to volunteers
- Highlight the effort volunteers make year-round, but especially during the coronavirus
- Raise awareness of volunteering and what’s happening/changing at local and national level
- Think Local, Act Local
Let’s have a big shout-out for Scotland’s health volunteers
- Encourage organisations and groups to recognise and thank their volunteers
- Encourage volunteers to share their efforts: big and small, formal and informal.
- Share your thank yous with Volunteer Scotland through audio and video clips, poems, songs, drawings, messages, stories and quotes.