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New volunteers needed to help communities


The Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh community hubs, which have been providing a vital lifeline for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, are looking for more volunteers.

An incredible 600 people responded to the initial call for help made in March. Since then volunteers have been giving hundreds of hours helping those who were isolating in the district and had no family members nearby to help.

The volunteers have been delivering hot meals, dropping off shopping and collecting prescriptions. More recently they have proved invaluable helping the organisations running the hubs to support those coping with loneliness.

But with more people going back to work, the hubs are concerned that fewer volunteers might mean a reduction in the help they can offer. They also want to support those who need help, particularly over the festive season and there is a particular need for drivers to help with shopping deliveries.

Councillor Jenny Hollingsbee, F&HDC Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We were amazed and very, very grateful when so many people came forward to help seven months ago and they have been truly wonderful in helping our district during this pandemic.

“The organisations which set up the hubs with support from the district council have put in place some fantastic schemes to help their local communities and they could not have done that without the hours that the volunteers were happy to give.

“The number of volunteers is dwindling as more resume their jobs but we hope that there may be those waiting in the wings who would be able to give some time to enable this network of support to continue.”

One of the Folkestone volunteers said: “I joined later than most, after months of being in lockdown with my family. Becoming a volunteer has been such a rewarding experience interacting with people again, be it answering the phone and having a good chat, shopping on their behalf or delivering prescriptions. Knowing I am helping those more vulnerable and providing that bit extra support for our community as others return to work.”

Through the Emergency Assistance Fund, the council is supporting a volunteer co-ordinator for the district for three months through the Hythe hub. If you are able to spare some time to help please fill in the form in the volunteering section of this page here.

The Three Hills Sports Park runs the Folkestone community hub. Hythe and Lyminge Age UK operates the Hythe area hub and the Romney Marsh hub is run by the Romney Marsh Day Care.

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