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Charity hub seeks skilled volunteers to help communities during lockdown

Over 2,400 people signed up to be a volunteer in the last year.

Members of the public who previously volunteered with Voluntary Action Leicester

An appeal has been made for support from well-intentioned members of the public to offer their time and skills to the hundreds of struggling voluntary groups and community charities across the county.

It comes in preparation of the winter season and anticipated reintroduction of stricter lockdown measures.

The charity hub running the appeal, Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL), supports the voluntary, charity and social enterprise (VCSE) sector. It first made an appeal in March in conjunction with Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council.

Kevin Allen-Khimani, Executive Manager at Public Sector Contracts & Projects, commented: “The VCSE sector has never been more needed – be that for food, shelter, access to finance or support for mental health.

"We, at Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, are passionate that we want to help as many people and groups as we can over the difficult months ahead. But, we can only do that with the support of the public and those individuals prepared to step up and help their neighbours."

Over the last year, VAL has provided support to the voluntary sector with over 3,770 hours of support for groups, £725k of funding secured and 300 individuals trained.

At the height of the pandemic, VAL worked with Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council to create a bank of volunteers to help local communities. Over 2,400 people signed up to be part of the volunteer bank and to date, VAL has placed over 1,000 people with local VCSE organisations.

The appeal has been affectionately dubbed the 'VAL Army' after its success. It has seen thousands of community-minded individuals volunteering their time and skills to help groups and individuals whose services in the community were dramatically affected by the lockdown measures.

Skills sought can be as simple as being confident to pick up a telephone and help with support and crisis lines, being fit or able to help deliver goods to the doors of service users, or simply to act as a befriender to those in the community who are feeling vulnerable and isolated.

Anyone can sign up to help out, but VAL is particularly looking for more volunteers in the Oadby, Wigston, Queens Road, Belgrave, Spinney Hills, Highfields, and Charnwood areas.

If you have an ability to help – or know someone who can – contact VAL to register your interest.

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