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Council teams up with VAL to co-ordinate volunteer response

Published on Friday, March 20, 2020

View of Leicester

PEOPLE who would like to offer their services to help Leicester’s response to the coronavirus outbreak can now formally register as a volunteer.

The city council has teamed up with Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) and other voluntary sector partners to help mobilise the hundreds of people who want to help out – and put them in touch with those in need of help.

From today (20 March), volunteers will able to sign up on the VAL website and offer to help with tasks such as shopping, dog walking, posting mail or collecting prescriptions – which will be a big help for anyone unable to get out and about because of the outbreak.

Volunteers will also be needed to provide a friendly voice at the end of the phone to elderly or vulnerable people, who may feel isolated in their homes - and there will also be plenty of backroom roles that can be done without direct contact with others.

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “All around Leicester, people are already looking out for their neighbours and helping out with essential tasks – which is absolutely brilliant and will, I’m sure, continue for as long as it’s needed.

“But we know there are lots of people who want to help the city in these unprecedented times by formally registering as a volunteer.

“By teaming up with VAL, who have tried and tested systems and a wealth of experience of working with volunteers, we hope to harness all the goodwill that’s in the city and create a database of people who are ready to help, when they’re needed.

“This might not be tomorrow, or next week, but it might be in several weeks’ time.

“The important thing is that we get the resources we’re going to need in place now, so that we’re as well prepared as we can be.”

Those wishing to volunteer will be asked to complete a simple online form, which will help co-ordinators allocate each volunteer a suitable task. The health and safety of volunteers, and of those who could be in contact with them, will be of paramount importance to the scheme’s organisers.

Kevan Liles, Chief Executive at Voluntary Action LeicesterShire said: “Voluntary Action LeicesterShire has been part of the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sector for over half a century. Our work has constantly evolved with the times, but always keeps local people at its heart.

“We know from calls we have already received that there are people across the city who want to volunteer to help others and this website will give them the opportunity to do so.

“Our mission is to change the lives of people in Leicester & Leicestershire for the better, and in these difficult times we welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with the City Mayor and his team.”

More information about how to become a volunteer is available at www.volunteerleicestershire.org.uk

Anyone unable to register online can call VAL on 0116 257 5050 or email helpline@valonline.org.uk.