In March 2020, when the first stay at home order was issued, volunteers across the area stepped up to help anyone left stranded by the new rules.
In Clevedon alone volunteers did 14,520 support tasks, provided 5,094 community hot meals, spent more than 3,000 hours on the phone doing wellbeing calls, collected 1,637 prescriptions, delivered 1,582 items of PPE to local health care, care homes and businesses, provided 78 families with digital devices and donated 50 more to partner groups, delivered 311 food parcels and collected 5 tonnes of Foodbank donations, and clocked up more than 4,000 miles of community transport (including taking residents to their Covid-19 vaccinations).
The darkest days of the pandemic also forged new partnerships, bringing those volunteers together with North Somerset Council, town and parish councils, and other critical organisations such as mutual aid and faith groups, Voluntary Action North Somerset, Citizen’s Advice and housing associations.
Called North Somerset Together, the new collective made sure everyone was able to get essential supplies and no one was left isolated as a result of the pandemic.
Nearly 8,500 requests for help were received by North Somerset Together during the first year of Covid-19, three-quarters of which needed voluntary support.
Around 2,200 volunteers from every town and covering all the villages picked up and delivered prescriptions, did shopping, delivered hot food and provided a lifeline for isolated residents.
North Somerset Council’s executive member with responsibility for North Somerset Together, Cllr Bridget Petty, said: “We cannot overstate the enormous contribution made by every member of North Somerset Together during the last year.
“The response of our communities to look after and support our most vulnerable residents has been inspirational and gave such encouragement during the very difficult days of this pandemic.
“As an organisation North Somerset Council is so grateful to each and every person who has given their time to our community and our residents.
“These volunteers have made a very real impact on lives, and truly made a difference.
“And this goes beyond North Somerset Together to every volunteer during the last year. Whether you’ve been finding new ways to run your clubs online, helping your neighbour with a regular cup of tea and a chat, or fundraising in new and inventive ways - thank you.”
Volunteers’ week runs every year from 1-7 June. For more information visit www.volunteersweek.org.