Council leaders host celebration to thank boroughs incredible volunteers

Published Thursday 10 June 2021 at 17:11

On Monday 7th June, Blackburn with Darwen Council leaders and officers joined the boroughs amazing volunteers to celebrate and thank them for their hard work during the pandemic.

Volunteers Week ran nationally from 1-7th June – a time to say thanks for the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering – and locally the week was closed with a fantastic digital celebration to recognise and give thanks for the contribution of our own volunteers.

Blackburn with Darwen is incredibly lucky to have the support of over 2000 registered volunteers – with an unbelievable 700 new volunteers signing up between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021!

This represents the amazing community spirit consistently shown across our borough.

At a time that was toughest for everyone, particularly those living in Blackburn with Darwen, our residents were still willing to sacrifice their time to help the local community.

The Help Hub is just one example of an initiative that was quickly started in partnership with community and Council as part of the boroughs covid-response –supporting residents both emotionally and financially through a difficult period.

Strategic Director of Adult Services and Prevention at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Sayyed Osman, said:

We set the Help Hub up in literally three days, and our many volunteers who helped with this came forward with big hearts to make a difference.

Arguably, this has been the most important volunteer’s week and volunteer’s year for decades.

In the face of adversity, we have seen all that is good in our people and communities coming together to support one another.

On behalf of the entire Council, I would like to say thank you for your dedication, your personal commitment and the sacrifice of your time.

You make Blackburn with Darwen a stronger community and we are absolutely proud of you.

This is what Blackburn with Darwen is – it’s cohesive, supportive, resilient, and our communities are kind.

Blackburn with Darwen is a beautiful place where people come together, support each other and care for each other – and this is what you as volunteers contribute towards.

I would also like to thank the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership Team for their ongoing support, we are very grateful.

Throughout the digital celebration, also attended by Council Leader Mohammed Khan CBE and Blackburn with Darwen Mayor Cllr Derek Hardman, volunteers had the chance to share stories of their individual experiences.

Muaaz, who takes part in the Council-led ‘Digital Buddy’ initiative, said one of the key benefits experienced during his volunteer experience is the “natural sense of accomplishment” he’s provided with.

After seeing on the news in December that over 1000 people a day were dying from covid, Julie was compelled to help in any way she could. She contacted the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership and they directed her to volunteering at the vaccination. Julie is now a lead Covid Vaccine Marshal Volunteer at Barbara Castle Way Health Centre, and urges everyone, “if you’re thinking about doing it, then do it, because I have loved every minute of it!”

Barry, who volunteers with the BwD re:fresh programme, says that social interaction and wanting to “work with a more diverse group of people, but in an upbeat dynamic” is what initially attracted him to volunteering. He volunteers to “stay active and healthy in himself and just have a good time really”, with the satisfaction he gets being to “see people smile”.

You can see all of eight of the volunteer stories on the digital screens and on our social media throughout the coming weeks – keep an eye out!

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council Leader, Mohammed Khan CBE, said:

It’s been brilliant to hear the real life stories from some of our volunteers.

I have often said that the solutions to issues communities face can be found in the communities themselves.

We have a vast army of volunteers doing great things for the communities each and every day.

You are the people who make your streets, your neighbourhoods, and your towns tick. You make a big difference and make the borough a better place.

As a representative of this borough, I not only want to thank you on behalf of the Council and its partners. I want to thank you on behalf of my constituents as well.

Thousands of hours have been logged online by our volunteers this last working year. Without their support, the Council would not have been able to continue delivering the vital services it provides.

Volunteering opportunities extend across community support befriending, libraries, litter picking, youth justice service and so much more! If you’re interested in getting involved, please visit www.lancsvp.org.uk

Blackburn with Darwen Mayor, Cllr Derek Hardman, closed the event, saying:

I have learnt so much in this last hour on the variation of volunteers there are within the borough.

I would like to thank all of these volunteers for the work they do on behalf of the residents, because a lot of it is unsung, as people don’t realise how much work is going on in the background.

I myself travel to work in the morning, see the red bags and know the litter pickers have been out!

The wealth of experience that we have in our volunteers is amazing. It’s important to have these events and recognise that our volunteers do such a fantastic job – and that we then get the story out there!

Hopefully, we can grow our boroughs volunteering base even more.

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