The role that volunteers have played in providing vital support throughout the coronavirus pandemic will be celebrated on International Volunteer Day 2020 this weekend.
Cumbria CVS County Volunteer Support Officer Judith Smale wants to use the worldwide awareness day on Saturday December 5th to thank people in the county for their efforts this year and to urge others to register as volunteers wherever possible.
She said: "We mark International Volunteer Day every year by celebrating and highlighting the work of volunteers, but this year we want to also say a big thank you to the local heroes that have really stepped up to the huge challenges we’ve faced.
"In Cumbria, it has been a similar effort to whenever we’ve had major flooding, but we’ve also had to face the unknown with everyone pulling together."
The Support Cumbria website has seen a record 2,000-plus people registering their interest as a volunteer this year, however, more help is always welcomed.
Many regular volunteers across the county are older people and have had to shield and self isolate for much of the lockdown periods.
Judith added: "This year has also been a huge challenge for volunteer managers, having to train people, mobilise people and engaging new volunteers despite the lockdown.
"I would urge everyone to visit the Cumbria CVS website to see what volunteer vacancies there are in your area. A lot of charities at the moment could really do with drivers, while volunteers in charity shops are usually older people, so many of them could use the help too.
"You can even become a digital volunteer - providing social media help or things like graphic design for charities and volunteer organisations. There is always a way to help."
The Cumberland’s CSR & Comms Executive, Becky Towns, also gives up some of her free time each week as a digital volunteer for Cumbria CVS.
She said: "In such a challenging year, a spotlight has shone on the kindness, generosity and support of people volunteering in our local communities and International Volunteers Day is something as a business, we’re right behind to recognise and celebrate the work of volunteers and voluntary organisations that have made such a real difference within our communities, especially over the last few months.
"On a personal level, I'm very passionate about getting stuck in to give back and think nothing is more valuable than offering our time, where we can. There is a feel-good factor knowing you're making even the smallest difference and also you get to make some amazing friendships along the way.
"So I'll always champion volunteering, especially as local community groups and charities continue to be hugely impacted by the crisis.
"As the nature of volunteering continues to change, with a big shift to virtual skill sharing, people could offer their skills - something that will really benefit local charities, not for profits and community groups so much over the coming months.
"Because no matter if a lot or just a little, giving your time could make a world of difference to someone else and make a positive difference in our local communities."
International Volunteer Day 2020 takes place on Saturday December 5th. For more
information about volunteering in Cumbria and latest vacancies, visit cumbriacvs.org.uk.
If you would like to register your interest in volunteering for future emergencies or be contacted for current volunteer roles relating to Covid-19, please register at supportcumbria.org.uk.