Volunteer Hub Stories

We’ve asked our volunteers to send in their stories to help inspire others, We can’t thank them enough for all their hard work over the past several months, true pillars of the Hyndburn Community.

BERNADETTE’S STORY

The only good thing to come out of this pandemic is to see the local community working together. The local community groups like Great Harwood Response Team, Hyndburn Hub, Food Bank and Baby Bank along with many other local groups that have been setup to help the vulnerable and elderly residents in Hyndburn. These groups which are mainly volunteers, do shopping, pick up prescription, walk dogs, call on residents to check on their wellbeing, the list just goes on and on.

The Great Harwood Response Team do – Bingo lockdown each week and have delivered word search puzzles, cakes, strawberries and cream you name it and they have delivered it. Residents have told me that without this support from the local community groups and neighbours they don’t know how they would of coped. During the lockdown, for some residents who were shielding the volunteers were the only contact that had with the outside world. The desire, willingness dedication from volunteers is amazing, I couldn’t of done this without my husband!

HELEN’S STORY

I have been volunteering for the Great Harwood Response Team since it was set up at the beginning of lockdown. I currently shop for a lady who is housebound and whose only family lives over a hundred miles away. My own parents also live many miles away and whilst they are still fit and active, they are also in the age bracket which was advised to shield. I am fortunate to have other family members who live nearby and can help out if necessary. If that wasn’t the case I would be desperately worried about them and would love to know that there were people in their town who were helping to look after those who are vulnerable.

Over the weeks of lockdown I have got to know my new friend in Great Harwood and also her daughter through WhatsApp and phone calls. It feels good to know that the time we spend chatting when the shopping is delivered and the ‘extras’ that have been provided such as the bingo, puzzle books and celebration cakes etc. have been so appreciated and have helped to ease the struggle of lockdown a little.

JODIE’S STORY

I started volunteering for the Hyndburn hub right from the start before it went ‘live’ in the community as I had had to leave work before the schools closed to shield.

What started with offering to help sort a few spreadsheets quickly became running the hyndburn hub shop and drop service alongside Kimberley Whitehead.

I felt compelled to give something back to my community and support our most vulnerable members. Working alongside 100s of dedicated volunteers was an absolute pleasure and our work went so much further than organising shopping, especially to those with nobody else to lean on, we became their friends and support network.

We very quickly became a solid team, looking out for those who needed it the most and supporting each other through some tough and worrying times.

I have met many people whom I hope will remain friends and have gained so many connections and valuable networking opportunities. I also have gained a place on the community action network team spreading important messages and information to our community.

I really enjoy being an active volunteer in the community and hope to continue to do so for as long as I can. It’s such a humbling yet rewarding experience.

Being back at work at Accrington academy has limited my availability to volunteer, but it has been lovely to tie it all in together.

Our Academy set up a logistics team to deliver work packs and essentials to students and helping out in the community during lockdown which I was a member of.

Whilst out delivering for school we collected packs from the Hyndburn baby bank and delivered them whilst ‘en route’, we also stopped off to lend a hand sorting and organising where we could and also collected items for the Hyndburn Food bank.

In July I won a ‘lockdown legends’ award for Community work from Accrington Academy during a special online awards ceremony to celebrate our achievements and resilience as a school.

It’s really been a fantastic experience and long may it continue!

LIZ’S STORY

When we started the Great Harwood Community Response team, I never in my wildest dreams thought we would still be here and active 6 months later. I have met the most amazing volunteers who have put their hearts and souls into looking after the vulnerable in our Communities. I have met and engaged with so many wonderful residents who due to age or illness have needed our help. I have got to know some of them so well that I could tell many life stories.

Their thanks and gratitude have brought me to tears. Volunteering is so absolutely worth it. You get so much back for every second you give.

NEIL’S STORY

It has been an absolute pleasure supporting the Hyndburn Hub. I originally got involved representing Great Harwood Cricket Club as a volunteer. I am on the committee of the Cricket Club, and along with other cricket club members have enjoyed supporting the hub whether that collecting and delivering prescriptions, delivering treats or just getting to know some of our vulnerable people within Great Harwood and surrounding areas. Just being able to help in these difficult times has been fantastic. Also great that our Cricket Club partners with the Hub and the area in these times of need.

Well done everyone involved.

PATRICK’S STORY

Hello. As a local Cllr I have been busy in Vivid times. On several local groups but have enjoyed helping Harwood Hub. The ladies have been great as have the helpers. To go shopping and sorting medical matters has been fulfilling indeed. It brings hope, friendship and faith to so many. It looks now as if the need will be even greater until next Summer so I ask for others to give a little time to help those who gave us all chances in their younger years.

Also, we can do more for disabled and those with Learning Difficulties who have been lonely. God Bless you all and please keep safe. My nickname is the slave as if any helper is busy – Liz makes me turn out. Finally there has been great Party unity. I have worked with Bernadette and Jenny for the people of Harwood.

PAULINE’S STORY

I can only say I have been truly blessed to help in any way I can. Be it baking and delivering or phoning people everyday or collecting all sheets/cheques and eventually sorting all the accounts.

I have met so many new wonderful volunteers of all ages and it has always been with a smile and laugh. The joy from people from just a phone call in worth it. Long lasting friends have been made and will last forever.

Being in my 70s it has kept me busy during lock-down so am never bored. Feel wonderful having so many new friends who have such wonderful life stories to tell you.

Lock down or not these friends will never leave us.

Like Liz I too have been reduced to tears but tears of joy and love from so many grateful people.

Thank you everyone!!

WAYNE’S STORY

I was working away when I got the call from Liz to help out, I hurried back and did all I could to recruit volunteers and get the message out that our most vulnerable needed to be protected, we recruited over 55 people including some of the Great Harwood Cricket Team.

They have all responded incredibly and made us all proud. I helped a little to Shop and drop off parcels for the food bank and it has been rewarding seeing the happiness we bring. let’s not forget that our visits also brought a little companionship and rest bite from loneliness of lockdown.

What a team of superstars, I had to have a break half way through, my wife had a “covid” baby 2 weeks early and that was a trauma in itself. All happy and healthy thankfully.

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