Voluntary sector coronavirus heroes

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In the penultimate part of our feature, we highlight more staff and volunteers who are going the extra mile to help communities #NeverMoreNeeded

22nd May 2020 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Crisis often brings out the best of the voluntary sector.

As businesses worry about profit, and politicians strategize – charity workers and volunteers have continued to do what they do best, help people.

The initial response from the sector to the pandemic cannot be underestimated. Despite funding worries, offices closing and volunteers and staff having to self-isolate, organisations have embraced the challenges presented by the outbreak.

In the penultimate part of this feature, we highlight just a few of the people - nominated by TFN readers - who are making a difference.

Matt Ingledow

Matt Ingledow has worked for the Edinburgh-based charity Worldwide Cancer Research for almost four years. Matt is the charity’s supporter services team leader – and in the last few weeks, he and his team have been picking up the phone to hundreds of supporters to say hello and a big thank you for their continued generosity – especially during these uncertain times.

Matt said: “We receive no government funding, so it’s because of the kindness of our supporters that we are able to fund lifesaving cancer research. Some have been supporting us for up to 30 years! Our supporters have been glad to hear from us, and very grateful to be able to have a chat. Many are housebound and feeling quite isolated, so they’ve expressed that our call has actually ended up being the highlight of their day or even their week.

“It’s also been amazing to hear about all of the unique and creative lockdown-friendly ways to fundraise that people have come up with. We’ve had everything from birthday fundraisers to cycling 150 miles in 30 days, and it’s so motivating for our team – our supporters really do make us smile.

“We’ve found that people want to know more about the charity and our work too. One positive emerging in the current situation is that scientific research has been put back in the spotlight. Our chef executive, Dr Helen Rippon, recently spoke about how people are seeing the power of research when it comes to tackling global problems now more than ever – and questioned what we could achieve if we put more resources into research, not only during this time of crisis, but always. 

“It feels very much like the pandemic is tearing us apart right now. But we keep telling our supporters that we know that research will bring us back together – and we will get through this, together.”

 

Joey Lawrie

Joey Lawrie is head of tenancy support and partnerships at Homes for Good.

Throughout lockdown, she has been doing all she can to help those who the social enterprise supports.

Director Susan Aktemel said: "Joey has been an incredible support to the tenants, team and wider Homes For Good community during these difficult times. Joey is continuously going that extra mile for all of us and always putting those around her first."

 

Brook Marshall

Brook Marshall is the chief executive of a grassroots Dundee-based youth mental health charity called Feeling Strong.

Feeling Strong normally provides peer support services and information to young people facing mental health and wellbeing challenges in the city. However when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Brook and the Board of Trustees, took the decision to pivot the charity’s usual work programmes and look to start a service of food and care package deliveries for vulnerable people (of all ages) in the city.

Feeling Strong was one of the first charities in the city to do this - down to the quick thinking and strategy planning expertise led by Brook.

More than a thousand food and care packages have now been delivered, and the charity is working closely with a range of partners in the city.

 

Sharon Watson

Sharon Watson normally works at the Sir John Stirling Maxwell Pub in Shawlands, Glasgow.

Popular with regulars at the pub, she was concerned about their welfare during Covid-19, so decided to volunteer with Cosgrove Care.

Fundraising manager James Lwanda said: “Sharon's a brilliant volunteer, with many qualities that make her an ideal member of Cosgrove’s volunteer team. She is caring, helpful and has lots of patience, with a classic Glasgow 'no bother' attitude that means she always goes over and above the call of duty.”