Bishop Christine thanks 'inspirational' volunteers during Covid crisis

First published on: 22nd June 2020

Bishop Christine has paid tribute to volunteers who have kept people safe during the Covid crisis.

She said the efforts of volunteers throughout our Diocese have been an inspiration.

Their work to support community services have kept us going and would be vital to the regions recovery from Covid-19, said Bishop Christine.

Support provided by volunteers has ranged from deliveries of food and medical supplies to the vulnerable people, to social check ins on people who are lonely or isolated, to morale boosting events and competitions.

Bishop Christine, who was speaking in her capacity as chair of the North of Tyne Combined Authority Inclusive Economy Board, said: One of the most encouraging things to come out of the COVID-19 crisis has been the willingness of people to come forward and offer to help.

Volunteers have delivered shopping and prescriptions for those unable to get out or unable to use online services; theyve delivered activity packs for children missing out on school and to older people who are shielded; theyve made phone calls to check on people isolating at home and theyve worked alongside statutory services, such as the NHS to ensure people get the care and support they need.

People have really gone the extra mile to help; it has been inspiring to see.

When the Covid-19 crisis began, support groups of volunteers came together quickly to provide help where they saw it was needed most in their communities. Many of our churches came together, making sure the most vulnerable were looked after and cared for.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority Inclusive Economy Board, which was formed in March and includes key figures from the Voluntary and Community Sector, will focus on finding good work for young people seeking education or training.

Made up of business professionals, representatives from the voluntary sector, and members of the public, it will play a key role in the economic recovery of Newcastle, Noirth Tyenside and Norhtumberland.

Bishop Christine said the work done to build bonds between the public, private and voluntary sectors would allow for a greater understanding of the issues and challenges facing people in the North of Tyne, and offer insight into what support and interventions were best.

She said: Volunteers are playing a crucial role alongside health and care services providing care and helping communities to cope with the challenges that coronavirus has thrown at them.

Over the coming months and years they will continue to make an enormous contribution, beyond the initial impact of this virus, for the many causes, charities and community organisations that make a difference to peoples lives every day.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: It's our friends and families who support us through life. This crisis has shown that we've extended that caring instinct to people we don't know, but who need our help. Everyone who has volunteered is an inspiration.

Rebuilding from this crisis is a monumental task. Our inclusive economy board is focusing good work. We've all been clapping for key workers. Too often they're undervalued and under paid. Our Good Work Pledge is there to make sure people are properly valued for the work they do. We have to end stressful, insecure employment practices and in-work poverty.

Bishop Christine brings compassion & experience to our Inclusive Economy Board. She's a joy to work with.

Cllr Joyce McCarty, who sits on the Inclusive Economy Board and is the North of Tyne Combined Authority Cabinet Member for and Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council said: I would like to thank the volunteers across the region who have stepped forward during this crisis.

Throughout the pandemic the spirit, determination and kindness of people in our region has shone brightly. As well as the volunteers our communities have come together showing incredible kindness, friendship and neighbourhood cohesion.

An army of volunteers stepped forward, despite the challenging nature of the work, to provide help some of the most vulnerable people in the region and support organisations dedicated to helping them.

Our voluntary and community sector has done an incredible job coordinated these volunteers and harnessing the incredible goodwill.

In the coming days, weeks, months and years we will emerge from this crisis and start to rebuild our region. We must continue to draw strength from this spirit of generosity, build on the incredible community cohesion and join together as one.

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