Coronavirus: Hargey praises thousands of volunteers for selflessly giving their time to help others

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has praised volunteers, including those pictured, for their amazing work generally and in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 1 – 7 gets underway.

As Volunteers’ Week gets underway Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has expressed her gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who selflessly give their time to help others.

The Minister said a light had been shone on volunteers’ contribution to society in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1–7 June, recognises the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.

Minister Hargey said: “I would like to express my gratitude to the thousands of volunteers throughout the year who selflessly give their time to benefit others which greatly enriches our society.

“The current health pandemic gripping almost every country in the world has demonstrated the value of volunteering. I am truly heartened by the generosity and wonderful sense of community on display in every corner of our society where people from all walks of life stepped forward to help.”

The Minister continued: “Everyone has a vital part to play, those who have got involved in compassionate, creative and meaningful ways delivering food for others, collecting and delivering essential items from pharmacies so that the most vulnerable can be protected, and those who provide telephone support that reassures people confined to their home, I say a big ‘Thank You’.

“We are fortunate that a strong sense of community prevails despite the changing pace of life. Acts of kindness by our volunteers help create successful, strong, vibrant and prosperous communities which makes for a better place to live and work.”

Volunteer Now takes the lead in promoting and encouraging volunteer organisations to thank volunteers for all their hard work and commitment.

Denise Hayward, Chief Executive, Volunteer Now, explained: “During the current crisis, we know that the role volunteers have played has been very important and we want to say thank you.

“We also know that many people who would normally volunteer are not able to as some are self-isolating and some organisations are going through difficult times and their volunteers are not currently engaging in their usual roles.

“With this in mind we feel strongly that is it important to mark the Week and to use it as a ‘Time to Say Thank You’ to all volunteers.

“We want to highlight the individual acts of kindness which are keeping everyone going at this difficult time, as well as remembering all of the volunteering which normally takes place throughout the year.”

To find a volunteering opportunity in your local community go to www.volunteernow.co.uk

If you are involved in volunteering and would like to share your story as part of the Volunteers’ Week campaign or want further information about Volunteer Now please contact by emailing Julie.Cusick@volunteernow.co.uk

Volunteer Now is the lead organisation for volunteering here and works to promote, enhance and support volunteering. Volunteer Now is about connecting with individuals and organisations to build healthy communities and create positive change. Volunteer Now enhances recognition for the contribution volunteers make, provides access to opportunities and encourages people to volunteer. Volunteer Now provides training, information, guidance and support to volunteer-involving organisations on issues of good practice and policy regarding volunteering, volunteer management, child protection, safeguarding vulnerable adults and governance.

Across Northern Ireland there are approximately 282,000 formal volunteers (voluntary work carried out with or under the auspices of an organisation) and 470,000 informal volunteers (voluntary work carried out outside an organisation, often at neighbourhood level, but outside the immediate family). 146,000 individuals are both formal volunteers and informal volunteers.

Individual formal volunteers give an average of 13.4 hours each month, it is estimated. The annual economic contribution of regular formal volunteers (based on an average hourly wage of £11.49, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings) is £504 million.

Just under one third of all formal volunteers (equates to an estimated 87,000 individuals) are engaged with a voluntary or community organisation.

Individuals aged between 35 and 49 and those aged between 16 and 24 years old are the most likely to volunteer. 61% of all formal volunteers are female.

 

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