The current situation makes it difficult to fully celebrate Volunteers’ Week this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use the opportunity to think about all the incredible people who have given up their time in the past year and are ready to come back and carry on as soon as we’re able.
At Crohn’s & Colitis UK, as with many other charities, the majority of our volunteer activity is suspended. From our Networks in the community to our research awards, coronavirus is drastically altering the way we work. This does, however, provide us with an opportunity to see how things can work differently and come back stronger.
We know that, despite restrictions on gatherings, our Local Networks are still keeping in touch with our supporters through social media and newsletters. Many of our volunteers will be taking extra care and shielding at the moment but still find time to be there for others.
Many of the fantastic healthcare professionals who support our Networks in their own time have found their NHS roles drastically altered by the pandemic and we salute them as they focus on the key services where they are needed most.
Our research panel, too, are finding themselves in an ever-changing professional environment as some switch from IBD research to investigating coronavirus and a number of our immunology researchers are responding to requests for research related to the pandemic.
As our office is closed we have a number of our office volunteers waiting patiently to resume their duties and we are looking forward to our helpline volunteers resuming their essential work after having a break while staff dealt with the huge peak of coronavirus enquiries.
Also on pause is our WALK IT series and public events which we had a number of volunteers signed up to support. We have launched My WALK IT and hope many of them will take part in place of attending our summer series.
Finally, our trustees are coming together remotely to ensure that staff are supported and able to continue operating despite the unprecedented challenges that we face.