Monday 1st June marked the start of Volunteers’ Week 2020, a week dedicated to raising awareness of the contribution made by volunteers across the United Kingdom. This year it is even more important to mark the occasion in light of the thousands of volunteers across the country stepping up their activities in the face of Covid-19.

Jon Cruddas MP, who started his own community volunteer network in 2011 said: “volunteers have always played a key role in our community and society as a whole, during the current pandemic we have seen local people all across Dagenham and Rainham going above and beyond to help the most vulnerable. I want to take this opportunity to show my appreciation and say thank you to all those that have volunteered in recent weeks.”

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK and lockdown measures were introduced, volunteers have been working all hours to ensure that the most vulnerable people in society are provided for and not left in complete isolation. Activities have included shopping trips, phone calls, donating to food banks, assisting with daily tasks and helping to get people online so that they can communicate with family and friends.

In Dagenham and Rainham, the Ford factory got to work with 300 volunteers helping to produce 400 medical ventilators a day in the fight against Covid-19, BD CAN was set up in Barking and Dagenham to coordinate thousands of local people who volunteered their time to help others, and in Havering a mutual aid group was set up and has been running alongside charities and the local authority to support those that need it. 

Jon added: “if we take one positive from this pandemic it is a renewed sense of community spirit. As we ease out of lockdown it will be important that organisations across sectors look at how we retain this comradely attitude in society.”