Volunteer Centre West Berkshire garden party to thank those who stepped up to help others during coronavirus pandemic
A West Berkshire charity has thanked all the volunteers who "stepped up when the district needed them" during the pandemic.
Volunteer Centre West Berkshire thanked its office volunteer team at a garden party last week, and also bid a fond farewell to a number of people who have given decades of service to the community.
The group of more than 30 volunteers were thanked for their work throughout the pandemic to ensure their services were available to those who needed help.
The party was held at the home of charity director Garry Poulson and his wife Deborah.
Mr Poulson said: "We wanted to show our heartfelt gratitude to people who committed themselves to the service of others at time when there was no one else who could help.
"Volunteers worked the phones, showed empathy, good humour and IT skills together with diplomacy and tact.
“The charity has been blessed with wondrous willing people who were needed and they stepped up when the town and district needed."
The Newbury-based charity, which has been helping others for 47 years, was involved in the thick of things from the first days of lockdown.
It was able to ensure that thousands of prescriptions and food parcels were delivered and calls made to support the elderly and vulnerable residents.
As the lockdown restrictions eased the charity's regular transport services have restarted, including the community car service, the Newbury and Thatcham Handybus Service and Newbury Shopmobility.
At Friday's event the charity also said a fond farewell to two of its longest serving office volunteers.
Sue Cox, who has served in the office for 38 years, and Kate Kenna, who has given 28 years to the charity, were both presented with a certificate from Mr Poulson and chair of trustees Brien Beharrell.
Mrs Beharrell, who is the former editor of the Newbury Weekly News, relayed her thanks - and those of her fellow trustees - to all the volunteers and reflected on just how fortunate the area is to have a Volunteer Centre that does so much in the community.
Although they were unable to attend the festivities the charity also recognised the work of Patsy Giles, who has helped with the Handybus books for more than 35 years; and Yvonne Brick and Jean Allan, who have volunteered for 16 and 12 years respectively.
The charity, which recently announced an alliance with Greenham Trust to better support the voluntary sector, is now busy recruiting volunteers for other organisations.
Mr Poulson added: "We are planning an event to acknowledge the 700 or so volunteers that we recruited in the first few weeks of lockdown who volunteered in the field. My garden couldn’t quite fit them in, but we couldn’t have done it without them either!"