It seems we have a wonderfully strong community of helpful and generous people.
When Australia realised the corona virus was serious in March, we put out a call for volunteers and we heard a resounding ‘yes’ from more than a hundred people offering to help! We have more that enough for local people’s needs just now – but this is still evolving – so we have kept a database of willing volunteers. We are sending out a regular newsletter to them to let them know what we are doing and making sure they are connected with all that we are doing.
Thank you to everyone who put up their hand to help us at this incredibly tricky time, and thank you to our regular volunteers who have been able to stay with us. When Corona first struck, SCS expected some regular volunteers to isolate so we assumed we’d need a lot more new volunteers.
“It turns out that many of our regulars – of all ages – have great loyalty to clients to whom they take meals and fresh linen. They don’t want to miss seeing them and having a chat when doing deliveries. So we’re very lucky they’re able to carry on volunteering and enjoy a genuine connection with their clients,” says Volunteer Coordinator, Yvonne Hughes.
We also expected we’d find more vulnerable local people isolating without any support and needing help with essentials. Our ‘wellness database’ of vulnerable people started in March and some new volunteers are supporting them by phoning regularly for a friendly chat and to check if they have any needs we could meet – and they’re more than appreciative.
Yet it seems families, neighbours and friends of many isolated people are also doing an incredible job of looking after them – which means there’s fewer vulnerable people than we expected needing to be on our list due to restrictions around Covid-19.
Home-delivered meals, the linen service and phone shopping – these services and many of our usual social events would never run without our fantastic volunteers. Our Home-delivered meals service is booming, up by about 50%, so huge thanks go to meals volunteers for largely keeping up with the fast-growing number of runs.
Also, during the first few weeks, online shopping became extremely popular – we managed to get priority access and completed about 100 Woolworths online grocery shops for vulnerable clients. This was a lifeline for some people who did not wish to leave the house and had no access to the internet.
We’re grateful our volunteers, new and ongoing, are flexible enough to fit in with needs at a time when everything’s changing.
We’re looking forward to seeing all of our generous volunteers, existing and new, once life returns to normal or something like it! We’d love to thank our volunteers properly in Volunteering Week (May 18 to 24) but we’ll have to save that for the future.
If you’re interested in volunteering with Sydney Community Services, find out more here
If you’d like to read some of our volunteers’ stories, visit www.sydneycs.org/meet-our-volunteers/