Celebrating our volunteers - at a safe distance!
The Leuchie volunteer team is varied and well populated with many star turns that add so much to the Leuchie experience. Sadly as with many organisations, to protect everyone from Covid-19 we have had to put a temporary halt to volunteering activity in the house. As such there is a definite displeasure at the moment as we insist that the wonderful team stay away.
Administrative help, meal assisting, leading activities, welcoming new guests, gardening, helping in the kitchen, helping in physio, driving guests out on trips… it is a long list of contributions which have had to be put on hold for now.
Despite this, celebrating volunteers during #volunteersweek is as important as ever. Both for the time and kindness donated over the past 12 months and for the very many new ways in which people are making voluntary contributions right now in different areas.
The support from a distance from our volunteers has been overwhelming with many kind words giving the team in the house a real boost. We have been keeping in regular contact with phone calls and the occasional zoom video call. Always great to get together though there is also a lingering sadness that it is only via video that can chat together at the moment!
One volunteer role which continues albeit in a reduced capacity is in supporting our fundraising. We are grateful for the role played by our volunteers as ambassadors for Leuchie and representing us in community fundraising. There have also been masks made and pen-pal letters written which again shows the flexibility and ability that runs right through the team.
One sometimes forgotten (but always appreciated!) volunteer group is our board of trustees. Fortunately, through phone calls and video calls, we have been able to stay in regular communication and have continued with our regular board meetings. As well as ensuring good governance, this is another way in which volunteers contribute by providing external expertise.
Talk of a kinder society post Covid-19 is encouraging. It would be wonderful for there to be a better appreciation of the social care sector and for there to be recognition of how valuable time spent volunteering can be. For me, it is a neat contradiction that such selfless acts can bring such benefit in wellbeing for each individual volunteer! This positive feedback loop builds its own energy which has led to countless hours being given to Leuchie out of the goodness of people’s hearts.
I noted with interest comments from the First Minister about the future of work being more flexible, with mention of a four-day week being a potential new normal for full time working. I believe having a fifth day which can be given over to volunteering would bring massive health and personal growth benefits. To the charity sector in particular, and also to individuals who would be given the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, and contribute to different aspects of society. Volunteering is a wonderful thing!
We know that volunteers are an essential part of “normal” life at Leuchie and we look forward to that being the case again soon. The loss is keenly felt in our inclusive community and the house is so much quieter right now without the usual cast of characters! Of course we will be guided by national advice and look forward in time to welcoming volunteers back to support our guests. Until then, we will not stop saying thank you and showing appreciation for the wonderful contribution which our volunteers make.
by Ross Macnab
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