A Northamptonshire charity wants to say "a huge thank you" to all of their volunteers, who have given up their additional time during the pandemic to support older people in their community.
Age UK Northamptonshire saw many of their volunteers having to stop work and stay at home when the March 2020 lockdown closed schools and offices.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen dramatic changes in the numbers of local volunteers. Many had to shield and were no longer able to help in charity shops. Others like telephone befriender, Monique Kochuijt, found that they were suddenly available and had plenty of spare time to help.
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Monique said: “I have always been passionate about helping others in whichever way I can but the coronavirus crisis caused quite a few activities I participated in to be suspended.
"I did not hesitate to sign up to be a telephone befriender for Age UK Northamptonshire.”
Monique has additionally been volunteering at the Northamptonshire Covid Vaccination Centre in Moulton Park since February 2021.
She said: “We Age UK Northamptonshire volunteers welcome, we smile, we talk and help where needed. It is just nice to be part of something that hopefully brings us a step closer to normality.”
Gail Perrins says the events of the past year encouraged her to volunteer for Age UK Northamptonshire as a handyperson. She said: "The timing is right for me now and, as an engineer with a background in the automotive industry, I find it really satisfying fixing things.
"I am new to the charity and can’t wait to get out and help older people in their home.”
This kickstarts the beginning of the annual Volunteers' Week, which - this year - is running from June 1 to June 7. It is a time for the nation to thank the hundreds of volunteers up and down the country for the huge contribution they make through giving up their own time and expecting nothing in return.
Age UK Northamptonshire’s chief executive, Chris Duff, said “This last year has been catastrophic for many older people.
"Our work to support our clients has been stopped and started and we have faced a great deal of uncertainty and disruption.
"I would like to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers, especially those who remained active and helped in whatever way they could. The help they have given to older people in their community is hugely appreciated.”
Age UK Northamptonshire has just over 300 volunteers providing support and making a difference to older people across the county.
Find out more about volunteering for Age UK Northamptonshire by visiting their website at www.ageuknorthants.org.uk or call the charity on 01604 611200