The Jewish Chronicle

JVN honours work of volunteers in pandemic

- BY AMANDA WEINBERG

THE PANDEMIC has changed our lives. It has brought fear, uncertaint­y, economic disaster and much suffering to our communitie­s. Yet here at JVN, what we have been struck by is the overwhelmi­ng power of kindness. From last March, volunteers in their thousands offered to support charities across the UK. The furloughed, the recently unemployed, students back home due to university closures and others simply trying to make sense of our new world order, registered to deliver food and medicines, befriend the vulnerable and elderly, help out at food banks, tutor children or use their furloughed skills to help charities suffering from lack of staff and resources.

The number of new volunteers registerin­g on the JVN website tripled during the first lockdown. It has been inspiratio­nal, witnessing so many people during this time of great need offering to help others.

Jacob Forman, social action and volunteeri­ng programmer at JW3, says: “The volunteers from JVN have been

so helpful and an essential part of our work. It has covered all aspects from sterilisin­g the food containers we use, to preparing food and delivering it. They have been an invaluable part of our food provision work, enabling us to get over 100,000 meals out to members of the public in need.”

Robert Koch, a volunteer with Age UK, says: “I wanted to give back and

help the community. I support the elderly who are alone and scared and I know at the end of the day my call is their lifeline.”

With the start of the vaccine programme, JVN advertised opportunit­ies for volunteers to sign up for centres through charities across London and Manchester. Again, a staggering number of applicants flooded our site and we were delighted to be able to signpost these enthusiast­ic volunteers to help with this wonderful programme.

It is essential JVN recognises the amazing contributi­on of our volunteers. Without them, many individual­s would not receive the help they so desperatel­y need during this difficult period. Our annual JVN Celebratio­n of Volunteeri­ng awards ceremony, like many other events, will take place virtually this year. Charities have been invited to nominate volunteers and volunteer teams in four categories: l Volunteer of the year l Volunteer team of the year l Innovation in technology during the Covid pandemic l Lifetime achievemen­t award JVN has introduced the innovation award to recognise the amazing contributi­ons and projects that have been set up during Covid-19 which have simply saved communitie­s and individual­s. We thank and appreciate all our volunteers for shining their light of kindness during this bleak time.

The award ceremony will take place on March 2 at 7pm.

 ?? PHOTO: EMMA ZIFF PHOTOGRAPH­Y ?? Some of the winners at 2019’s Celebratio­n of Volunteeri­ng awards
PHOTO: EMMA ZIFF PHOTOGRAPH­Y Some of the winners at 2019’s Celebratio­n of Volunteeri­ng awards

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