What a difference volunteering makes

This week is national volunteers’ week, and what better way to celebrate than to highlight the phenomenal support our local communities have provided in response to the COVID19 pandemic.

Getting involved, helping others and generally providing support to those that need it; has become a mantra that so many have taken on in new volunteering roles over the last three months.

In NW London following the launch of the GoodSamApp more than 19,000 people came forward to support the existing volunteering network and offer help. We would like to thank each and every one of you who has offered and helped to support people in our local communities and across our health and care services.

Your dedication has seen some incredible and speedy results, with more than 15,000 individual requests from patients and the public being completed within 24 hours. Thank you

Volunteers have ‘checked in and chatted’ with those who are isolating or on their own, delivered shopping, medicines and equipment, cooked meals for tired carers and helped with patients get to where they need to go.

Some of our boroughs have set up specific services to support local needs.

In Brent a service was set up to help deliver oxygen saturation probes to patients homes. These are devices which monitor the levels of oxygen in blood, and used as a way to quickly identify if someone with COVID19 symptoms needs medical help. 

In Hounslow volunteers are helping support shielded patients who need help with accessing services online, helping to reduce the impact of social isolation.

In Hammersmith and Fulham hot meals have been delivered to care home staff to help support them through this difficult time.

Across Kensington and Chelsea and surrounding areas, over 450 food parcels have been delivered to vulnerable people under the age of 65 who were self-isolating. For the over 65s, 5754 care packs and 654 fresh meals have been delivered to older people who struggle to cook.

Community pharmacies are now equipped with a decision making tool to sign-post them to local and national (GoodSAM) volunteers to ensure patients receive timely deliveries of their medicines.

All of these services and many more initiatives have and are still making a huge difference to the lives of so many people who could so easily have been cut off and isolated during this difficult time.

The NHS and local authorities would not have been able to do this alone and coordination of this huge volunteering effort has been supported by The Royal Voluntary Service Scheme, our charity and third sector organisations and volunteer centres who have helped coordinate and raise the profile of the volunteering services available so many more people have been helped.

“My shopping has been delivered for the last few months, I can’t tell you what it means to me, I would have been lost without someone coming to my door, just seeing a friendly face has made all the difference.” NW London resident

Our volunteering programmes continue across NW London and if you are interested you can apply to the GoodSam at https://www.goodsamapp.org/. If you have a relative or neighbour living in NW London that would benefit from having their medication delivered to their home, do speak to your local pharmacist.