It's been National Volunteers Week! It's been great seeing the work of everyday heroes being celebrated this week. Here is a roundup of some of the great things that happened last week in the world of volunteering...
It's a texting service, but leave no finger prince... William, the secret volunteer!
Royalist or not, it's easy to be simply fascinated by the royal family who live in a different world to most people, and I sometimes wonder whether or not they are fascinated by how we, the other half, live. This week, our second in line to the throne revealed that he has been secretly volunteering for Shout 85258, which is a texting service for people who are in a crisis and want to talk to someone via text. It's free, anonymous and run by trained volunteers who are there 24 hours a day to help. As the volunteers are communicating with young people who are distressed and often suicidal, it's a very challenging role and one which requires not only calmness and empathy, but also a good deal of time. Go Wills, I hope you continue!
You can read more about Wills and his volunteering HERE
Village health volunteers continuously keeping Covid at bay in Thailand
This is a truly beautiful story covering a community of volunteers called the Village Health Volunteers. The group of volunteers dates back to the cold war, and comprises of circa one million people - if that's not ingraining volunteering into your culture, I don't know what is. The Village Health Volunteers have been credited with keeping Covid-19 at bay in the densely populated country which has a fraction of the infrastructure that we have. Since January, Thailand has reported 58 deaths, which is remarkable - I think we can learn a lot from this wonderful group.
You can read more about this group HERE
Boult from the Blue... future tennis ace volunteers for AgeUK
Young tennis star Katie Boulter has had a bit of a tough time recently, and covid-19 has come at precisely the wrong time for her, just as she was preparing to get back into her game post-injury. She is using her downtime to volunteer with AgeUK, something I have also been doing. She is doing telephone befriending, which helps to combat loneliness not only for the client, but also for the person doing the befriending. I was surprised at how much I have been enjoying it, as I don't really like to talk on the phone. It's been incredibly interesting just getting to know someone new though.
You can read more about Katie's story HERE
Volunteer support extended to help frontline health and social care staff
The government has announced that the NHS Voluntary Service will now be extended to help more people. This is great news, as there are so many people out there who want to help but are not being utilised. The scheme was originally designed to help those who are vulnerable and shielding because of Covid-19, but thankfully we will now be helping our hard-working and probably exhausted front-liners. I've had a mixed experience with the Royal Voluntary Service, with only one out of my eight callouts being successful, but I really hope that this is a success as I believe it will start to inspire a culture of people helping each other out. Love breeds love.
You can read more about it HERE