Sunderland City Council is recognising the efforts of volunteers in the city as part of National Volunteer Week.
Taking place from Tuesday 1 to Monday 7 June, Volunteer Week aims to thank the hard work that hundreds of people within our communities do every single day.
There are several reasons why a person may volunteer, such as wanting to help within their community, wanting to learn or develop a skill, because they want to make new friends, utilise spare time, or just add something to their CV.
Sunderland City Council provides many volunteering opportunities that anyone can get involved with, including regular litter picks, fundraising, running events, administrative work, and taking part in community consultations.
There are also many Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) groups across the City. These organisations work every day to help improve our city by supporting residents within communities and delivering projects to support our parks, green spaces, and heritage assets.
Volunteering became even more important over the last year as the world went into a global pandemic. This resulted in VCS groups and individuals pulling together to help our most vulnerable residents in the city. Residents have signed up to schemes such as the Keeping in Touch service, visiting older residents and phoning them daily to prevent loneliness. Food packages and medicine were also delivered to doorsteps of those who could not leave their house.
Sunderland City Council has also introduced Covid Champions, a new scheme in which residents can sign up to help inform people in their communities about the latest Covid-19 advice and guidance. Funding was also secured to enable the Council to work in partnership with the VCS and local charities to help support vulnerable communities including those with disabilities, ethnic minorities, isolated young people, rough sleepers, LGBT+, veterans and asylum seekers.
Sunderland City Council has recently announced a new one-off awards ceremony, the Shining Stars Awards, to recognise residents who have gone above and beyond throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. There are several categories for residents and businesses to nominate individuals, community groups and organisations who have helped in their community, including Organisation of the Year, Sunderland’s most Neighbourly Neighbour, and Community Fundraising Champion.
Cllr Linda Williams, Portfolio Holder for Vibrant City at Sunderland City Council, said: “National Volunteer Week is a great opportunity for us all to say thank you for everyone’s efforts in Sunderland, and also to raise awareness of the various volunteering opportunities available.
“So many of our residents care for the city and the people who live in it. It goes without saying that volunteers play a key role in our city, especially over the last year with the pandemic response.
“I would personally like to thank every person involved for their enthusiasm and commitment to our city and their communities. I encourage anyone who wants to play their part to sign up to one of Sunderland City Council’s volunteering opportunities.”
Find out more about volunteering in Sunderland at www.sunderland.gov.uk/volunteering
To nominate someone in your community for a Shining Stars Award, visit www.sunderland.gov.uk/shiningstars