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Volunteers’ Week Case Study – COVID-19 Responders

Published: Friday, 5th June 2020

We take a look at the experience of a local volunteer and the positive impact on the Southend community.

This week is Volunteers’ Week and therefore a great opportunity to share more about the work of South Essex Community Hub (SECH).

SECH is an award-winning charity that was set up with support from South Essex Homes and is based out of The Hub in The Victoria shopping centre.  Over the past few months, SECH has been co-ordinating the Southend Coronavirus Action community response to the COVID-19 pandemic, by arranging support to vulnerable residents who have needed help since the start of lockdown.

To mark Volunteers’ Week - we have written a case study about Corrina, one of our busy new volunteers who has been helping several of the residents of Nicholson House in Southend.  Corrina has told us about her own experience of volunteering in the current climate and we have also included comments from one of the residents she is helping and from one of our own Officers.  Here is her story:

 

From the Volunteer…

“I had never thought of being a volunteer before COVID-19, but as I work in a school I found myself with time on my hands since they are closed. I am an active outdoor person and not really very good at sitting down indoors, so I decided to look into volunteering opportunities, as a way to keep myself busy, fill my time and help others. I signed up to help people with their shopping. It has been a pleasure to meet new people and to talk to them on the phone and hopefully provide some support during these difficult times. Being a befriender has opened my eyes to how isolated some of the most vulnerable people in our community are- not just now, but in more normal times as well. 

“In talking to people on the phone I have been able to find out from them that they would like to get out more and meet people of a similar age when this is all over. This has prompted me to talk to Age Concern and I am quite surprised how many things are available through Age Concern and other charities. Including a 50+ club in Westcliff that has snooker, carpet bowls, Jigsaw puzzles and arts and crafts. They also offer keep fit and tai chi. They have a café and services such as podiatry and hair dressing. They also provide community clubs in Leigh and Rayleigh. Regular afternoon teas with entertainment, barn dances and quiz nights are held.    

“Doing people’s shopping has been challenging and is surprisingly more difficult picking out food when it isn't for yourself, but has been rewarding seeing people happy when I have brought them their shopping and having a quick natter at the same time. 

“I wasn't completely sure about volunteering before but now having done it, I plan to continue volunteering after the pandemic is over. I feel lucky to have been a part of volunteering network and my working experience has enabled me to put many skills in place to be a part of this. 

“All these behind the scenes, charities and volunteers do an amazing job and it is apparent that many more people need support and volunteers are needed in everyday things to keep these organisations going.”

 

From the resident…

In an email to our Support Services Team, a resident of Nicholson House said:

“When we needed some extra bits, a lovely, friendly and helpful lady named Corrina did our next shop.  Corrina said she would phone us up to see if we got all the shopping we ordered from Asda, which was very nice of her.  And she still does that now, a weekly phone call, it’s lovely to know someone cares enough about us to bother.”  

 

From SECH…

Maria Medina, Support Services Officer for South Essex Homes, added:

“Corrina is an inspirational lady who has volunteered so much of her time and energy to offer support to several Nicholson House residents, many of whom have contacted us to say ‘thank you’ for the lifeline she has provided. 

“We wouldn’t be able to support so many vulnerable members of the Southend community without the help of volunteers like Corrina, so Volunteers’ Week provides a perfect opportunity for us to extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone helping us to support residents through this crisis.”