National Volunteers’ Week 2021: Working at Whiteley is the highlight of my week, says Davina

1st June 2021

Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting the day-to-day work of our charity and the services we provide to our residents. Put simply, we couldn’t do what we do without them. So, this week we’re recognising their dedication and commitment by profiling just a handful of our amazing volunteers to highlight the difference they make, as part of our celebration of national Volunteers’ Week 1-7 June 2021.

At the heart of our community is the Whiteley Shop and Post Office which has always been an important hub for residents – both for services and socially. During lockdown however, it became a lifeline for those who either couldn’t get out to the shops due to shielding or couldn’t get an online delivery.

Within a week of the first lockdown, staff and volunteers established a door-to-door grocery delivery service from the shop. It was an incredible achievement providing vital support to many vulnerable residents – many of whom still use this service over a year later. But it could not have happened without the support of our volunteers.

Meet Davina (pictured), who started helping at Whiteley just after the first lockdown in March, last year:

At that time, the Whiteley Shop was closed to the public and my role was to take and prepare grocery orders over the phone. As things began to ease a little and the shop re-opened at last, I managed to meet all of the lovely residents that I’d had many a conversation with over the phone.

“I love volunteering in the shop, working alongside Carol [Shop Assistant], and Noori [Sub- Postmistress], is just brilliant and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to chat and really get to know the many residents that visit the shop. It has been a very challenging year for everyone, but I think particularly for those who are older and more vulnerable. To have to limit their contact with friends and family and having to wear face masks when in close proximity with others is all very alien, but everyone that I have come into contact with has risen to the challenge.

“Whiteley is an amazing community filled with the most wonderful people and I just feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity to be part of this. I can quite honestly say that volunteering every Wednesday is the real highlight of my week!”

Lilian Meagher, Volunteer Coordinator at The Whiteley Homes Trust said: “We’re delighted to celebrate national Volunteers’ Week as it gives us a special opportunity to shine a light on the work of our incredibly dedicated supporters like Davina.

“We’ve particularly relied on our volunteers this year with all the challenges of the pandemic, but I never fail to be impressed by their hard work and commitment. They have a huge heart and are all just marvellous!”

Note: Photo of Davina taken in Spring 2020, before face masks became compulsory indoors.

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