This year marks the 37th year of Volunteers’ Week, which runs annually from 1 to 7 June, when Dumfries and Galloway partners will join thousands of charities and voluntary organisations recognising the contribution volunteers make across the UK and thanking them for all they do.
The contribution of volunteers is often unseen and unrecognised by many, visible only through the incredible impact of their volunteering. However, the coronavirus pandemic has rightly raised the profile of volunteering and more people than ever are aware of the immense contribution being made every single day by the UK’s volunteers.
This Volunteers’ Week, Dumfries and Galloway Local Resilience Partnership will be thanking and celebrating the thousands of volunteers who dedicated their time during to help others during the Covid-19 pandemic. A special electronic certificate has been created by the local resilience partnership to be presented to Covid volunteers.
Norma Austin Hart, chief executive officer at Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organisations and communities and without their support many services and activities just would not exist.
“Over the past 15 months, volunteers have never been more important from undertaking neighbourly activities such as shopping, dog walking, and grass cutting, to taking part in resilience work, including food provision and assisting many of the charitable organisations who operate across the region.
“Dumfries and Galloway truly has great volunteers and is a great place to volunteer. Thanks to everyone who has done so, continues to do so and may in the future.”
Fiona Lees, interim chief executive for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “To volunteer and to give of our time and ourselves is one of the most rewarding things we can all do and this last year, during Covid-19, people have done that in their thousands.
“Whether it’s been help with shopping, community meals, walking the dog, taking time to write a letter to someone or making a call, people have reached out to help their neighbours and their community just when they needed them most.
“I am always humbled and inspired by the acts of kindness and compassion I see across all of our communities. Volunteers’ Week provides another opportunity to shine a light on the work of volunteers and to say a huge thank you! This is Dumfries and Galloway at its very best.”
Jeff Ace is chief executive at NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and he said: “I’d like to take the opportunity this Volunteers’ Week 2021 to thank everyone who has contributed their time in a voluntary role over the past 15 months.
“We’re so lucky in Dumfries and Galloway to have such dedicated volunteers, and the role they have played during Covid has been invaluable.
“I’d like to thank everyone who came forward in response to Covid, all who have continued to play crucial roles throughout the pandemic, and finally recognise those who have been required to step back as volunteers due to the coronavirus but who I hope we’ll be able to welcome back warmly before too long.”
Chief superintendent Carol McGuire, divisional commander for Dumfries and Galloway said: “In a time of national crisis, our volunteers selflessly stepped up to support local policing and provide reassurance to our communities.
“They made that commitment while they were faced with the same challenges as everyone else and this reflects the spirit and dedication of our valued Special Constabulary.
“Our volunteers bring extensive experience, skills, talent and local knowledge to Dumfries and Galloway policing division and are a vital asset all year round in helping keep our communities safe.”
Julie White, chief officer for Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Volunteers and all those in unpaid roles play such an incredibly important role within health and social care during normal times, and we’re especially grateful for all that they have contributed within a year which has required such a massive response to Covid.
“I think it’s fair to say that we would not be such a positive position were it not for the continued support of all those volunteers across our region. They have made such a massive collective contribution, and we are hugely indebted to them for all that they continue to do in support of the response to this major health crisis.”
Alison Lamont, one of DGHP’s heads of housing, said: “Throughout the pandemic volunteers in Dumfries and Galloway stepped up to help others like never before. Here at DGHP, so many of our customers directly benefited from the work of volunteers and we’d like to say a huge thank you to all of them for everything they have done to make people’s lives easier over the last 15 months.
“Our customers were able to access services across Dumfries and Galloway thanks to the dedication and hard work of volunteers, including receiving help with meals, food parcels, shopping and generally just lending a hand.
“Our customers are always at the heart of everything we do at DGHP and we saw first-hand the difference that volunteers made to their lives in the toughest of times.”