With restrictions being re-introduced in the latter stages of last year, we once again needed to ask our volunteer team to stand down, stay home and keep safe. Their normal roles, such as servicing our collection boxes, attending cheque presentations and events and delivering charity presentations in person, were just not able to continue. However, with such an enthusiastic volunteer team in place, supporting
the charity didn’t stop and they quickly re-adjusted, remained positive and embraced change.

With technology taking centre stage, Zoom enabled our autumn volunteer meetings to go ahead and there were some great ideas discussed. With shops being closed and festive markets unable to proceed, online shopping became the norm. Many of our volunteers encouraged their family and friends to buy Christmas cards and gifts from our online shop, as did many of our supporters. Similarly, they continued championing our cause, by helping to promote our Flight for Life Lottery and Grand Christmas Draw.

Our textile recycling banks were actually quite busy over the autumn and winter months, as people used their time at home to clear out and declutter. Seeing this as an opportunity to further promote our textile recycling scheme and having a great local knowledge of locations, some of our volunteers helped us with a project which focused on finding new sites. We had a really good response and hope to be able to find even more suitable locations across Dorset and Somerset over the coming months.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have stayed in touch with our volunteers regularly. Monthly communications updates have ensured that they have not felt cut off. Good old fashioned phone calls and emails (with the aim of simply checking that they are ok) have been really welcomed. We have also conducted two virtual quiz nights, which have provided some much needed, light-hearted fun.

Although technology has served us well, nothing really beats meeting up face-to-face. So, with the safety of everyone still in mind, we are all very much looking forward to getting back out in the community as soon as we can.