Blog: Applauding the fantastic effort of volunteers

At the beginning of this month many people took the opportunity to participate in National Volunteers Week. In my role as PCC I am a partner in the Suffolk Resilience Forum (SRF), which has been delivering the multi-agency response to Covid 19 was no exception.

Throughout that week we united to express our gratitude and appreciation for the volunteers who have done so much to help tackle this public health emergency. I have no doubt without that super-human effort by volunteers in particular, the effects of the pandemic would have been considerably worse.

As PCC I am fortunate to see at first hand the enormous range of benefits volunteers deliver for us countywide. There are thousands of residents of all ages supporting charities and other organisations to help people in their hour of need.

I commission a large number of services relating to victims, crime prevention and other policing related matters each year and, in short, that commissioning work could not be delivered without the vast armies of volunteers who are mobilised by their desire to serve their communities.

Nationwide the financial benefit is calculated in billions and I suspect that benefit has increased significantly since the lockdown started many weeks ago. This year’s theme for volunteers’ week was kindness and whilst the response to Covid 19 is fraught with difficulty, the thousands of acts of kindness shown by so many people towards others has been of huge comfort and reassurance.

In Suffolk, despite the hurt and pain experienced by many due to the pandemic, it seems we are fortunate (so far) to be in a better position than many other areas. I’m convinced the fantastic effort of volunteers who have mobilised is a major contributory factor and for this we are all especially thankful. That’s why we have highlighted the role of volunteers in helping the county respond to this serious challenge and for that, applause is fully deserved.

For those who have had to self-isolate, live on their own or are particularly vulnerable to infection life must be so difficult. Maintaining good mental health is another concern for young and old alike and the voluntary effort has delivered priceless support to many. In Suffolk there have been many examples of whole villages being mobilised to help look after each other, reinforcing the sense of community which is so important – a little like a large extended family. Much of it has been down to the volunteers and I’m certain this mutual aid will help make the recovery easier and quicker.

The media has also helped played their part and the apt catch phrase “You are not alone” has certainly made a difference. The media highlighting the great work done by volunteers has helped shine a light on the thousands of examples of kindness across Suffolk.
Our ‘Stick with It Suffolk’ campaign continues and is as important now as it was when it was launched and we’ve also introduced a new, colourful way for people across Suffolk to show their appreciation of others. Suffolk Says Thanks has been set up to recognise the small acts of kindness taking place across the county in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Posters, cards and other materials can be downloaded from to provide inspiration for saying thank you in different ways. Messages can then be shared through the website and on social media using the hashtag #SuffolkSaysThanks.
As our thoughts turn to recovery from the disease we will all need to harness that compassion and care shown by volunteers as we embark on this most difficult journey. For me I know the volunteering effort shines like a bright light at the end of the tunnel and provides a lift for Suffolk and hope for our future.

We must be optimistic and face the challenges head on and we will succeed. Suffolk has faced severe tests before and tackled them successfully. By working together we will do so again. So a huge thank you to every volunteer for all you have done – life would not be the same without you so please keep going – Suffolk needs you!

Published in the Bury Free Press June 2020