Thank you to the amazing charities that contributed to our Care Sector Mastermind Group to explore practical and online volunteering action to help communities recover from this challenging time. Special thanks to AgeUK, Camphill Blair Drummond, Purley Park Trust, Yateley Industries For The Disabled, Sea Shell Trust et al.
The speed and impact of the Coronavirus on the care sector has been profound with priority rightly given to preserving life and containing the virus. Restrictions on volunteer support for infrastructure and companionship activities was immediate and the challenges still posed to the care sector remains stark. Restrictions on movement made it difficult for care sector workers to deliver their service and for leadership teams to manage continuity planning whilst dealing with the immediacy of the challenges. The Care Sector Mastermind Group therefore focussed on what can be done to accelerate post Covid-19 recovery.
Funding remains a challenge and especially where income has been affected by the closure of charity shops, community cafes or other income generating facilities. Donations are always welcome but volunteers can make a bigger difference by supporting the charities to get their social enterprises back up and running.
Whilst maintenance at care homes, day care centres, community centres and social housing has continued the need for Covid-19 compliant and risk assessed volunteering support has never been greater; the need is projected to increase through the summer and into autumn. Volunteering support will also be required to assist with the reopening of vital respite facilities in the near future.
The mental health and well being of key workers and service users is an urgent priority and volunteers can make a big difference locally or nationally. This must be achieved without overwhelming care sector organisations at this challenging time. A key worker gifting programme, buddy system and skills support initiative would be welcome. A carefully managed service user companionship programme delivering postal, telephone, video conferencing or gifting support would make a big difference. A virtual Covid-19 Recovery workshop would help leadership teams plan for their future and take action now to prepare for tomorrow.
Employee Volunteering is a Community Interest Company helping companies to build high impact volunteering programmes. Our fully managed team activities, skills programmes and suite of online volunteering solutions are there to help volunteers make an even bigger difference.