Volunteers Week 2020: Almost 500 residents answer the call at #HelpNewham hubs during pandemic

UEL alumni and charity Caramel Rock founder Faith Johnson has been helping to distribute parcels. Pi

UEL alumni and charity Caramel Rock founder Faith Johnson has been helping to distribute parcels. Picture: Newham Council - Credit: Archant

Almost 500 people have been volunteering at hubs across the borough distributing food parcels and prescriptions during the pandemic.

Mutual Aid Group volunteer Daniell Hambrook. Picture: Newham Council

Mutual Aid Group volunteer Daniell Hambrook. Picture: Newham Council - Credit: Archant

The challenges of the coronavirus crisis have led to an increase in mutual aid groups across the borough, which have welcomed a new cohort of helpers.

In March, the council set up eight #HelpNewham hubs to be distribution centres for healthy food parcels and prescriptions and created a befriending phone service for residents.

So far, almost 500 volunteers who answered the call for helpers have collectively carried out more than 10,500 hours of volunteering at the hubs.

Another 55 volunteers from the Red Cross have supported the work at the hubs, which have delivered 31,500 parcels.

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Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz said: “During the current pandemic, we have recognised contributions of volunteers like never before.

“Our #HelpNewham hubs supporting our most vulnerable residents would not have been so successful without the army of volunteers lending a hand.

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“It’s been a humbling demonstration of social activism and our collective humanity.

“I offer heartfelt thanks to all Newham volunteers for everything they are doing to help, and also our partners in the voluntary, community and faith sectors.”

The council and activeNewham have also launched the #HelpNewham Skills Bank to support small businesses by matching them with the professional skills of volunteers in areas such as IT, accountancy, book-keeping, law, HR, and marketing and communications.

So far, 94 volunteers have offered help to 16 businesses.

The selfless contributions made by borough residents to support others and give back to the community are being recognised during Volunteers Week, which runs until Sunday, June 7.

Ms Fiaz will be using online meeting platforms to meet volunteers and thank them for their efforts, hard work and determination.

To find out more about volunteering opportunities, including with #HelpNewham and the Skills Bank, email volunteers@activeNewham.org.uk or call 020 3770 4444 and select option 5.

You can also visit www.activenewham.org.uk to register.

Visit www.newham.gov.uk/VoluntarySectorOrganisations for more information about voluntary sector organisations, or join the Facebook group Newham Covid-19 Mutual Aid to find out more about mutual aid groups in the borough.

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