I had my second vaccine jab at The Parks last weekend guided and supported by some excellent volunteers. Volunteers are at the heart of our local community and last week was Volunteers Week – an opportunity to highlight their contribution and to say thank you.
Many organisations depend on volunteers to keep them going. Charities, churches and community groups depend on volunteers. Volunteers at Cedarwood have fed local families during the pandemic, The Bay Foodbank volunteers support struggling families and Cullercoats Community Collective help clean up the local area. The first people to greet you at Rake Lane Hospital are often volunteers, there are volunteers in many schools and Neighbourhood Watch depends on volunteers. Our excellent local sports clubs like North Shields Juniors or Rockcliffe Rugby Club depend on volunteers and there are many, many more examples of volunteers making a difference.
Volunteering is good for the people who are helped but also good for the volunteers. And volunteering is estimated to bring an extra £18.2 billion to the economy. Governments have good reason to welcome and thank volunteers. Where David Cameron’s Big Society went wrong was seeing volunteers in communities take over from the state when actually communitarianism sits alongside the active state and at best, they compliment each others work.
Last but by no means least thanks to the RNLI and our local Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade for all they do in helping to keep out coast and our coastal waters safe. Each and everyone of them a volunteer of whom we should be grateful and proud.