The Covid-19 Volunteer Hub in Tower Hamlets was given the green light and funding to continue operating for another year at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting (Wednesday 21 October 2020).
The hub, which is funded by Tower Hamlets Council and run by Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets (VCTH), has been instrumental in delivering support to vulnerable residents since the pandemic began in March. As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Tower Hamlets and London has become a high alert area, there is an urgent need to continue to support this valuable resource.
More than 2,300 people signed up as volunteers through the hub, to help residents who were socially isolated, including those advised to shield by the government. Volunteer roles included driving personal protective equipment to carer’s homes, delivering shopping to housebound residents, helping in community kitchens and distributing food supplies to voluntary and community sector organisations and foodbanks.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We have a vibrant and dynamic voluntary and community sector in Tower Hamlets. It played a key role in the community response to Covid-19 in protecting some of our most vulnerable residents and this investment will help continue to support these grassroots organisations.”
The funding will be allocated from the new public health Covid-19 grant provided by the government, as well as redirecting existing funding from the council’s Infrastructure and Capacity Building Grants Programme.
Councillor Candida Ronald, Cabinet Member for Resources and the Voluntary Sector, said: “This year has been extremely challenging for everyone, but it has been inspiring to see our community come together to support each other. The Covid-19 Volunteer Hub has been essential in enabling volunteers to assist their fellow residents and provide extra resource for our voluntary and community sector. This investment will allow the sector to continue to play a key role in the borough’s recovery”.
Recently, the volunteering hub has been supporting the council’s Covid-19 community champions network. The programme has been established to empower and support Tower Hamlets residents to stay up to date with the latest advice about Covid-19. Champions then share this with their families, friends and their wider communities and help them make sense of it.
The council is encouraging people to sign up to be a community champion to receive the latest information to share with their community. For more information, visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/covidchampions.