This June, recognising our incredible volunteers is more virtual than we hoped. COVID-19 has meant a few of our volunteering projects are temporarily on hold as some offices and sites are closed, and others have adapted in line with social distancing.
I have been the Volunteering Support Officer at Cyrenians for over two years now. Every day I am humbled by something a volunteer says, the impact an individual has, or the sheer quantity of people-power tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness.
A lot of what I do is in admin and processes, attempting to keep recruitment and support across Cyrenians running as smoothly as possible. We have wow-factor big numbers, such as the 995 individuals who volunteered with us last year, which is awesome! Personally, I love hearing about people’s individual motivation for choosing not only to volunteer, but to volunteer with Cyrenians. One volunteer wrote, “By having a volunteer support me through a difficult time I have been inspired to volunteer myself and help others who are feeling lonely.” The positive effect volunteering can have on the volunteer and individuals we support is what it’s all about!
Currently I find myself part of the Cyrenians logistics team as we navigate responding to COVID. This requires a lot of organising, and matching offers of support with our service needs. Once again I’m blown away by the volume of people keen to support us. Undoubtedly there will be lasting effects from what we are going through, and though a lot of us are working apart it feels good to know the wider community is pulling together.
When there’s a crisis, I see kindness and cooperation as humans pull together to take care of one another. However, crisis is not always visible or large scale. It can be a slow burner, bubbling beneath the surface for just a single person. When we are able to deliver more usual services with our volunteers, I hope we see the return of those who have been unable to volunteer recently as well as some new faces.
I want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers, whether you’re here during COVID, or have been with us for years: we are incredibly grateful for the time, energy and skills you bring, and could not support so many people without it.