During national Volunteers’ Week, I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of people who have volunteered to support vulnerable residents across the Capital during the coronavirus pandemic.
Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 1-7, gives organisations across the country an opportunity to thank their dedicated volunteers for the huge contribution they make. Normally, I have the honour of hosting Edinburgh's Annual Inspiring Volunteer Awards to celebrate the huge range of organisations and individuals who give their time freely to work with the city's vibrant charity and non-profit sectors.
However due to the current restrictions this is not possible so it has never been more important than now to use the platform Volunteers’ Week gives us to celebrate the efforts of the capital’s volunteers. From those supporting their neighbours and friends to those giving hours of their time helping strangers through volunteering with organisations.
Over the last few months I’ve heard of the great work being delivered by Helping Hands (@EdiHelpingHands) all done by volunteers in their community, funded by their community, working with the community through their People’s Free Food Program. I have also been directly involved with Corstorphine Community Centre (@CorstorphineCo1) which has been working with local restaurants the Torfin, Jill’s Deli and Abida to deliver free meals to those most in need in the community.
Edinburgh has always had a thriving voluntary and community sector with thousands of volunteers helping people throughout the city giving their valuable skills and time to worthy causes every year. In my role as Volunteer Champion I have the privilege of meeting many who go out of their way to help others and I’ve been further humbled over these past few months when the city has come together in our response to the pandemic. Every single person giving their time, skills and commitment to help others is a vital part of Edinburgh’s response and a symbol of how we’ll move forward.
It will not be forgotten and as we get ready to launch our annual Edinburgh Award scheme – work is underway to look at how we can honour those who have gone above and beyond this year during the pandemic and I look forward to sharing more details on this in the near future.
The world has been changed forever, but what has not is that we will always help one another. This week is dedicated to you. And on behalf of the people of Edinburgh – I thank you.