Thank you to all Bracknell Forest volunteers

Volunteers’ Week takes place from Tuesday 1 June to Monday 7 June and comes at a time where the power of volunteering is clearer than ever.

It is an opportunity to say thank you for the amazing contribution that hundreds of volunteers have made across Bracknell Forest over the past 12 months in supporting our communities.

The community response, a partnership between Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) and The Ark, has worked with the voluntary sector, including Involve, to support our clinically extremely vulnerable residents. At the peak of the pandemic over 1,800 volunteers rallied to help nearly 2,000 residents who required assistance, providing practical help and support.

During the first lockdown, 12 BFC staff volunteers completed 115 doorstep welfare checks, during their own time, to check on those clinically extremely vulnerable residents we were unable to reach by phone. We still have over 500 volunteers working with The Ark who are still supporting their local community.

Cllr Paul Bettison, OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:

“This year has highlighted the vital role volunteers play across the UK. The pandemic has had a huge impact on everyone’s lives and all the volunteers have made an incredible difference to people in their local area.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of them for their time and commitment.”

You can watch Cllr Bettison’s message of thanks in the video above.

Volunteering brings its own reward. It can increase a person’s wellbeing, bring a closer connection to their local communities, and provide new skills and experience. There are many opportunities to get involved in volunteering and support your community whatever your skills, interests or availability.

Andrea McCombie, Chief Executive at The Ark Trust CIO, said:

“Since the start of the pandemic it has been fantastic to witness volunteers supporting their community, and we continue to get enquiries to help support the local vaccination programme.

“Volunteers have provided almost 60,000 hours to shop, deliver packages from the food bank, pick up medication, deliver medical equipment, walk dogs, help coordinate the response and marshal at the vaccine centre, whatever the weather. We want to say a big thank you to them all!”

Neville became a volunteer for The Ark in May 2020 after wanting to give something back to the community and make a difference. Having undertaken several volunteering roles, Neville said:

“I've met some incredible people whose common aim is simply to do something for someone else. Bracknell truly has a great community spirit and that's inspiring.”

Philip Bell, Interim CEO at Involve Community Services, said:

“We are aware of the true value of volunteering and the incredible kindness shown by local people who gifted their time during the pandemic to support others.

“We are keen to build on this momentum and to celebrate the huge value that volunteering brings to our communities. To find out how you can volunteer for your community, visit the Involve website.”

BFC will be celebrating Volunteers’ Week and providing information on how you can get involved on our website and social media channels.

For more information visit the Volunteers' Week website.