This week is Volunteers Week 2020, and this year, perhaps more than ever, we have seen people across our community helping others, and people needing help more than they ever have before.
Never in my life had I seen or dreamed of a situation where so many thousands of people were unable to do simple tasks like shopping, or picking up medicines. Yet here we find ourselves.
But I have seen, and am continuously humbled by the number of people, who, when tough times hit, wave their hands in the air, volunteering their time to help those who are struggling.
Southend-on-Sea, you have shown yourself to be a place that cares. We launched a helpline for people to call when they had no friends or family nearby who could help them. Our staff were redeployed to take the calls, but it was predominantly volunteers who helped people near them.
You have shown us all that Southend-on-Sea is a place where people help their neighbours. Where people shop for each other, drop off prescriptions, walk the dogs of those shielding. Where people don’t walk on by, but wave across the street, phone neighbours and check they’re okay.
I’m proud to live here, and to serve my community. But more than ever, the last few difficult months have shown me that whenever tough times may hit, the people of Southend-on-Sea rise to the occasion and help each other out.
Thank you. Thank you to everyone who has helped a neighbour. Thank you to everyone who volunteered via our Coronavirus Action Helpline and Facebook Page. You have brought a sigh of relief and a smile to many thousands of people in our borough who urgently needed help, and you have helped show other places how, when difficult times hit, kindness prevails.
The lights on the seafront are shining orange this week, as a mark of thanks to you all.
If you’d like to get more involved in your community and be officially recognised as a “Good Neighbour” there’s lots of information on our new community website, Your Voice Southend. Please have a look if you can, and in the meantime, please give yourselves a pat on the back for showing so much kindness.
Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care