The Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service reaches 1000 volunteers
The 1000th volunteer placed by the Volunteer Matching Service joins the many other volunteers who have volunteered directly with groups and informally within their community.
The Buckinghamshire Volunteer Matching Service was set up in Spring 2020 by Community Impact Bucks who partnered with The Clare Foundation and Buckinghamshire Council to support local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Working with key partners it has been a terrific achievement for Buckinghamshire to have reached a 1’000 Volunteers deployed, working with Community Impact Bucks and the Council it is evident that collaboration is key to successful outcomes. We are delighted that this partnership and the outcomes have had huge positive benefits to the people of Buckinghamshire and the wider community.” says Martin Gallagher, CEO at The Clare Foundation.
Helen Mee, Head of Charity Operations at The Clare Foundation says: “It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with colleagues from Community Impact Bucks and Buckinghamshire Council to manage the Volunteer Matching Service over the last 12 months; and it seems fitting that we have reached the 1,000 match milestone almost a year to the day since the service was first established. It is very humbling to be part of the team and to hear first-hand what a difference our volunteers’ contribution makes. The passion and dedication of our volunteers is inspirational.”
Community Impact Bucks have reported on the volunteers who have been matched covering a wide variety of roles across the county including:
- 128 volunteers to front line COVID response like delivering PPE and medicine and helping in food banks.
- 180 volunteer telephone befrienders to make calls to elderly and disabled people or those required to shield.
- 85 volunteers to support vital charity and voluntary services e.g. Lindengate, a mental health charity that has been supporting NHS staff, key workers and people who have been bereaved.
- 86 car park marshals for vaccination sites across the county
- 74 COVID Test Distributer volunteers placed with Buckinghamshire Council to help door-to-door COVID-19 testing.
- 56 volunteers to help in our hospitals with Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.
Claire Hawkes, Service Director for Localities and Strategic Partnerships at Buckinghamshire Council said: “We are so lucky in Buckinghamshire to have such fantastic community spirit and strong relationships with our partners. Running through this is a real ‘can do’ attitude by everyone involved, enabling swift support to our residents when they needed it; we are really confident this will continue long after the pandemic.”
“This milestone reflects the incredible community response which we have seen over the past 12 months with volunteers providing essential help to local services and support networks within our communities,” commented Katie Higginson, Chief Executive of Community Impact Bucks. “As volunteers stepped forward to help, the Volunteer Matching Service was set up overnight and has made sure that this fantastic resource was used where it was most needed – whether to help deliver an emergency response or enable voluntary organisations to expand or set up new services.
“Today’s achievement of ‘1000th match’ couldn’t have been done without our amazing dedicated matching team – the majority of whom are volunteers themselves and have helped run and develop the Service as it evolved through the year.”
Steve Illman, a VMS volunteer who was initially matched to the role of COVID marshal at a vaccination site and is now a volunteer coordinator, said, “My interaction with the Volunteer Matching is two-fold – as a volunteer, it helped me find a role that I would have struggled to find and, as a volunteer coordinator, it is a reliable source of volunteers to keep the vaccination centres running so smoothly. On a personal level I, like other volunteers I have spoken to, are glad to be helping in whatever we can but really feel the benefits too – from feeling good that you are helping in some way to providing us with a bit of structure to the week.”
To find out more or to register with the Volunteer Matching Service, please visit the Community Impact Bucks website.