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I am humbled by the kindness of volunteers




Column by leader of South Kesteven District Council, Councillor Kelham Cooke

Volunteers are among the true unsung heroes within our communities.

They willingly and freely give their time to help others, despite often having very busy lives themselves.

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MISSING CAPTION (32385676)

In our district, more than 1,500 volunteers have stepped forward to offer their help through the SKCommunity Hub during the Coronavirus pandemic. Many more people are taking individual action in their towns and villages by checking on vulnerable neighbours, picking up medical supplies or essential shopping, or just staying in touch by phone to lessen the impact of isolation. For our most vulnerable residents, these acts of kindness are a lifeline.

Each year, the first week of June is dedicated to recognising these unsung heroes as we celebrate Volunteers Week. Due to Covid-19, the events and activities that would have been held during that week have been cancelled. However, that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the occasion, we can still take time to pause and to say thank you.

Outside of my council duties, I have had the pleasure of working with some of our many charities and community groups. Through that experience, I have learned a lot about the unassuming kindness and selflessness of volunteers. So I hope we can find a way to mark Volunteer Week, safely and securely, because that recognition has never been more deserved.

Volunteers come from, and support people from, every walk of life, and many people volunteer through charities. This pandemic has seen the demand on charities increase. But charities rely on donations as well as volunteers, and in these times of need, making the most of those donations is vital.

That is why I am pleased to have announced this week the SK Covid-19 Community Appeal. Part of our role at the Council, is to provide community support wherever we can. That is why we launched LotterySK. But through our work at the Hub, and with the Lincolnshire Community Foundation, we realised that there are people who are looking for a way to safely and securely make donations that are not tied to any one cause but can be used by a variety of charities and community groups to support vulnerable people in South Kesteven.

By creating the SK Covid-19 Community Appeal, we are providing that platform. People can make donations, however big or small, secure in the knowledge that they will be used to help residents in our district alone. I’ve been truly amazed by the generosity of our residents that has led to the need for this Appeal being recognised and realised.

So as we ease out of lockdown, gently, carefully, I remain humbled by the kindness of others that has helped to strengthen resolve and bring to the fore the very best of human nature as we continue to clap for carers, say thank you to our volunteers, and recognise the true value and meaning of charity.

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