PUBLIC sector organisations across Dorset have paid tribute to volunteers for their “incredible” work during the pandemic.

Hospitals, emergency services and councils associated with the Dorset Local Resilience Forum praised volunteers for the “integral part” they have played in providing vital support to some of the area’s most vulnerable residents.

Cllr Nicola Greene, portfolio holder for Covid-19 resilience at BCP Council, said: “The work of volunteers during the pandemic has been incredible.

“So many people have stepped up to support others, whether helping with vital collections and deliveries, supporting the vaccination programme, offering a much-needed listening ear to those who have needed it or sharing their time in numerous other ways.

“We are enormously grateful to each and every volunteer for the time and energy they have given to support our community.”

Volunteers have been helping vulnerable and elderly people by delivering shopping and food parcels, collecting medication, coordinating hot meals and foodbanks and befriending phone calls.

Bournemouth Echo:

Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council portfolio holder for health, said: “I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all of our amazing volunteers for all that you have done and all that you continue to do to help our communities.

“The strength and resilience that you have shown has been outstanding. We could not have achieved all that we have, had it not have been for you.”

They have also been helping out in hospitals and across the vaccination sites including GP-led hubs, hospitals and the large vaccination centre at the BIC, which has seen nearly 2,000 people sign up to give support 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bournemouth Echo: Picture by Richard Crease  - 1/4/13   - bBicview4 -  stock  -    The BIC , ( Bournemouth International Centre)..COPYRIGHT - BOURNEMOUTH DAILY ECHO.

Kate Harvey, Dorset HealthCare service director, said: “Volunteers have played an integral part in the roll-out of the vaccination programme and in many of our other services.

“They have been wonderful at welcoming and supporting our patients, keeping them at ease and guiding them through the process.

“They work absolutely side by side with our staff and the vaccination programme just wouldn’t have been possible without them – our volunteers are fantastic and deserve a huge thank you!”

Bournemouth Echo: GL11 volunteers have been crucial to the Vale Hospital’s vaccination programme. Image: still from film about GL11 made by Gary Thomas

Chief nursing officer at Dorset County Hospital Nicky Lucey added: “Our volunteers have been absolutely amazing. They have been key in supporting the Covid-19 vaccination programme rollout and have brought with them an energy that has been inspiring and uplifting for our staff.

“They have also continued to volunteer across the hospital during the ongoing pandemic, bringing their passion for the community to the forefront.

“I am humbled and grateful for their support and thank them immensely on behalf of everyone at Dorset County Hospital.”

Bournemouth Echo: Chief Constable James Vaughan

Chief Constable James Vaughan of Dorset Police said: “I have been amazed at the level of commitment, dedication and selflessness shown by all the volunteers who have played such a huge part in the Dorset Local Resilience Forum’s Covid-19 response.

“From coordinating the delivery of food parcels and medicine, to supporting care homes and the fantastic volunteer provision at the Bournemouth International Centre’s vaccination site, these men and women have stepped up and offered their time to help our communities through a very tough and difficult year.

“I would like to thank them all on behalf of the residents of Dorset – our partnership response to this pandemic would not have been as successful without them.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Area manager Seth Why, from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “Over the last year, personnel from across our organisation have taken on roles very different to their usual day job.

“This has included driving ambulances, fitting face masks for colleagues in the health and social care sector, delivering food parcels and now supporting the mass vaccination centres.

“This willingness to help has been reflected across our communities, and I sincerely thank everyone who has offered their time and enthusiasm to support other people.”