Essex community and volunteers praised for their community support during coronavirus lockdown, for food donated to Broomfield Hospital and supporting vulnerable people

Joe Lewis, one of the district'’s volunteers, has been delivering food during the coronavirus lockdo

Joe Lewis, one of the district'’s volunteers, has been delivering food during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Braintree District Council - Credit: Braintree District Council

Over 200 meals have been provided and delivered to key workers and NHS staff at Broomfield Hospital through a collaboration between Community360, The Ruby Braintree and First Stop.

The public donated over £3,000 to an online funding page to cover the costs.

The project has been highlighted as part of National Volunteers Week which runs until Sunday June 7.

Braintree District Council and Community360 are sharing the stories of volunteers making a difference. They have had to cancel the annual ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past few weeks over 250 vulnerable people have been assisted with shopping, collecting prescriptions or just having someone to talk to during the pandemic, as part of the Essex Welfare Service referral scheme. The virtual community hub effort has been coordinated by Braintree District Council, supported by Community360.

To date Community360 have registered 63 volunteers via Volunteer Essex and Timebank, with over 900 hours being generated through Timebank to date.

Most of the volunteers were already volunteering within their own community groups. In the first week of lockdown they received over 20 community call outs. In the villages, volunteers have responded to over 150 requests for community support.

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Councillor Frankie Ricci, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Tourism, said: “This Volunteers Week is a special one and I would like to extend my gratitude, on behalf of Braintree District Council, to every single volunteer in the Braintree district who is helping someone during the current pandemic.

“Many of our vulnerable residents have managed to stay home and keep well solely because of the kindness, creativity and commitment of these volunteers.”

Tracy Rudling, CEO of Community360, said: “We are privileged to work with hundreds of volunteers each year and always seeing people with an interest in the community who would like to share their skills and knowledge with others, thank you to each and every one of you, our unsung heroes.

“This year has been even more inspiring to see how many people are prepared to give up their time to help others in any way possible. A huge thank you to our wonderful volunteers.”

Braintree Town Hall has been lit up overnight this week to thank local volunteers for their hard work and dedication throughout the coronavirus pandemic and the past year.