Somerset Proud on Somerset Day

We do not normally publish press releases. However it is Somerset Day. And this is clearly something worth celebrating. So without further ado, editing or any intervention on our part….

We’re #SomersetProud of our County’s Volunteers

The focus of this year’s Somerset Day is #SomersetProud. Local charity, Spark Somerset, and Somerset County Council would like to extend a huge thank you to the thousands of volunteers who have stepped up to support their communities in response to COVID-19.

 Spark Somerset run the local Volunteer Service, matching volunteers to a cause that matters to them. In response to the pandemic, they launched Corona Helpers – www.corona-helpers.co.uk – a website where Somerset residents can sign up to volunteer in their community.

Over the past couple of months, communities have come together to form hundreds of informal community groups who are providing valuable support to vulnerable residents.

Typical of the groundswell of support across the county is Coronavirus Community Help Taunton, a Facebook-based group made of 39 sub-groups that are supporting elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating residents across the district. Co-founder, Natalie Dyson, said:

“I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of our coordinators, volunteers, call handlers and the local companies who have kindly donated their time to help us. I don’t think there is a day that has gone by where I haven’t been in tears. It’s been such an emotional and heart-warming experience and I am proud to be a member of such a supportive community”.

Leader of Somerset County Council, David Fothergill, described the response to the pandemic in Somerset as astounding. He said:

 “The response had been extraordinary from our own staff and from the many hundreds in the community who are working tirelessly on behalf of others who are vulnerable or in need. We are justifiably #SomersetProud.”

People who want to get involved can visit www.corona-helpers.co.uk to find their local group and sign up to help with tasks such as grocery shopping, collecting prescriptions, dog walking or telephone support. 

There is also an opportunity for people to share their professional skills, as charities begin to think about how they can adapt and deliver their services in new and innovative ways. 

Katherine Nolan, CEO at Spark Somerset, said:

“It has been amazing to see such a positive community response during these difficult times. Existing charities and newly established Covid-19 community groups have been pulling together to support vulnerable residents – and for many people it has been a lifeline.

The months ahead are going to be very challenging for all of us and we know that the demand on charities and community groups is going to rise considerably. As we slowly return to the ‘new normal’ over the coming months, we have the opportunity to maintain some of this fantastic community spirit. The recent crisis has caused us to evaluate how we are living our lives –  and is inspiring many people to want to give something back. Local charities would benefit enormously from additional capacity and experience, so if you have relevant skills such as marketing, finance, HR or law, for example, and would like to make a difference in your community, then we would love to hear from you.”

Anybody interested in volunteering can visit www.sparksomerset.org.uk or email volunteer@sparksomerset.org.uk.

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