Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK – and it’s taking place from 1-7 June 2020.
Across Derbyshire Dales local people have been amazing in their response to the covid 19 pandemic, giving up their time to help and support their communities. It is National Volunteers Week so the Council is taking the opportunity to shine a spot light on these volunteers throughout the week and to say a big thank you for all the work they have done and are continuing to do.
If you know of any volunteers who deserve a shout out please email email@example.com
If you have been inspired to volunteer then either contact a local voluntary group or you can register with Derbyshire Council Council’s Community Response Unit. The CRU works with volunteers to provide support to residents who are struggling and have no one to call upon to help.
Below are some examples of the amazing volunteer work that is taking place across the Derbyshire Dales:
Kirk Ireton Volunteers
Around ten years ago Cynthia and Malcolm Pollard set up a volunteer run community village shop, along with a team of voluntary assistants. Then with Covid 19 the shop became inundated and the Pollards set up a telephone ordering system and sourced suppliers to provide for this increase in food orders. The shop has overflowed into the Barely Mow pub and now has 25 volunteers helping process these orders.
Malcolm and Cynthia also deliver and it has been a lifeline for many local people during these difficult times.
FRiends And Neighbours in Kirk Ireton is a partnership of voluntary organisations who run a helpline for vulnerable or isolated villagers. They are encouraged to call whatever their need and they have no one else to ask. The phone line has been busy, checking on those who are ill, the elderly, gardening for partially sighted, collecting prescriptions and organising weekly quizzes. Big thank you to John Sinclair, Jane Parsons and Emma Yates, Malcolm & Cynthia Pollard and Rachael Short and Henry Bartum.
Kirk Ireton village newsletter
Maurice Coey has been producing the monthly village newsletter for the past seven years. During lock down he has been burning the midnight oil and producing a newsletter every few days, keeping people in touch. It is full of information, tips, nature notes, local walks and all round positively and encouragement.
A group of dedicated volunteers at St. Anne's Church in Baslow, led by Graham Duncan started an initiative two weeks ago to bring all types of flour and yeast to surrounding Peak District villages and at the same time fund food parcels. The flour is sold at cost price and people are asked to make a donation to fund the food parcels.
The Church is working with St Mary’s Church in Sheffield to supply essentials to families in real need in the city.
The volunteers have taken over £450 worth of orders in the first week and want to increase this so they can help more people. In the long term they want to use the funds made from the flour for local charities.
To find out more visit www.flour4foodbanksbaslow.org
Callum’s Voice is a Derbyshire based charity set up by Laura Taylor following the suicide of her autistic son. She realised that vulnerable autistic and disabled children were often forgotten in this crisis. Laura has arranged well being sensory packs to be delivered to these families that are full of self-care strategies, sensory toys and activities. Derbyshire Dales mother Sarah received a pack from Laura for her son. “It has brought him real joy and has helped us deescalate several potentially violent meltdowns.”
Residents in Tissington have been donating sheets and duvets covers for volunteers: Crystal, Dot, Ann, Unwin, Linda and Parul, to make scrubs for the NHS and carers.
Other residents have been shopping, collecting prescriptions and generally looking out for their more vulnerable neighbours and friends
Caroline has been fund raising and raising awareness of charities for years. During the pandemic she has been helping self isolating friends and neighbours in Ashbourne by shopping, baking and generally cheering people up.
Food For Friends
Food For Friends is an initiative set up by the Friends of Hurst Farm in response to Covid 19, to provide affordable food to households on the Estate. Volunteers put together weekly food boxes containing fruit, vegetables and staple store cupboard ingredients, at a subsidised costs.
The group successfully applied for funding from Derbyshire Dales District Council Local Projects Fund and the National Lottery Awards for All. During May they provided 238 boxes to 86 households.
If you live on Hurst Farm and are interested in the receiving a food boxes please visit Friends of Hurst Farm Facebook page.
Ashbourne Covid 19 Community Support group
This dedicate group of volunteers have been working with: Police, Town Council, Careline, Food Banks, Schools, Adult Social Care and local businesses.
- To source and provide PPE to local care homes and doctors surgeries.
- They have received funding and donations from local businesses to use vouchers for those struggling financially.
- They have provided the use of laptops for families who needed one for home schooling.
- Members have offered educational resources and organised spellathons for primary aged children.
- Ashbourne’s mayor has kept people informed of local information and updates.
These Ashbourne volunteers want to ensure that no one has felt alone or forgotten during the lockdown and they will continue to do so until the situation eases.
These are just some of the volunteers
Winster Community Shop
As a Community Shop it was inevitable that the staff would do all they could to support the people of Winster and the surrounding villages during this testing time – but with the support and commitment by so many volunteers it has meant that they have been able to reach those who might otherwise have really struggled.
Macmillan - Ashbourne
Margaret wants to thank Ashbourne Macmillan group, they are so nice and caring. "We haven’t had a group while the virus is about and people shielding but they have been ringing us up regularly and seeing that we are OK. They have been having lovely chats with us with no one rushing us so that has been really helpful."
Wirksworth Community Response Unit
June Madeley has worked tirelessly in association with Dr Penny Blackwell from Hannage Brook Medical Centre to set up the Wirksworth Community Response Group (WCRG).
She set up a group of volunteers who each have their own patch in Wirksworth for residents to contact in case of need for help. These volunteers posted information leaflets and deliver shopping and prescriptions to local residents in need.
This rubbish was collected by a group of volunteers from Thorpe
The connection Space - Matlock Farm Park
"Prior to the lockdown our peer buddy volunteers were superbly supporting adults experiencing memory loss/dementia at Matlock Farm Park engage in meaningful and purposeful farm based activity. Since lockdown they have been sharing nature based experiences via a What's App group and sharing ideas for our A-Z of activity ideas to help us all stay connected and engaged during the Covid-19 crisis. We have been eagerly following the hatching of a group of cygnets that one of our volunteers has been visiting.
We are really keen to restart this Nature Based Volunteering project as soon as is safe to do so and will be announcing an increased offer to volunteers living with mental health needs etc."
Chatsworth Ward Volunteers
The residents in the villages of Baslow, Bubnell, Beeley, Edensor and Pilsley have pulled together and are working as a team with local groups, the church, parish council, surgery and local shops. These volunteers are delivering shopping and prescriptions and generally being good neighbours. The vicar is sharing services on Facebook and via email and St Anne’s choir have been performing on Facebook. There is a strong community spirit in these villages supporting those in need.
Matlock Community Support Group
The group was set up to bring people together in a positive way online during lockdown and beyond. It has over 1000 members and has been used in a number of ways. From offers of support, to sharing information about pharmacy and shop opening times, to sharing positive ways we can help or positive things happening in the community. There have been items offered for people in need from spare tablets and face masks to books and jigsaws. It is also a space to share local businesses offering different services to encourage people to support Matlock's local shops and businesses. Some charities have also shared any need for volunteers in the group and there has been occasional requests for support for individuals, but most of that happens through charities or the other Covid19 Facebook group.
Caring in Hathersage
Caring in Hathersage is made up of several support groups and individuals in the village who are helping those in need in their community. But to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Hathersage Gala came up with the idea of delivering cream teas to those in the village needing support. Volunteers made up and delivered 220 cream teas and local businesses provided the food at cost price. It was a lovely surprise to the recipients and the volunteers received much thanks.
Volunteers keeping the Dales clean
Hundreds of residents across the Derbyshire Dales are helping to keep our area free of litter and generally tidy. Many were doing this before the lockdown and they’ve been joined by even more people as a result of the litter from an increase in visitors recently.
Some of the volunteers are in groups, such as the Proud of Ashbourne, Ashbourne Town Team, Keep Wirksworth Clean Group and the regular community litter picking activities in Bakewell and Matlock Bath, along with many others. But there are also individuals who regularly pick up litter as they are out and about their towns and villages.
We want to say a Big Thank You for helping us keep the Derbyshire Dales clean.