WIRRAL Council is pledging to provide more help to the thousands of volunteers who are giving up their time to support their local communities.
A new plan – the Wirral Together Strategy – proposes a new programme of support for volunteers, including specialist training and advice alongside seeking more funding to help community organisations develop and grow.
Cllr Matthew Patrick, cabinet member for localism and community engagement, said:
“The terrible recent events in London and Manchester demonstrated how important and powerful communities are in times of crisis.
“The stories of people opening up their homes and helping total strangers were incredibly inspiring and showed the world what it means to be part of a community in Britain.
“Here in Wirral, we saw the same effect following the explosion in New Ferry: communities rally together, they support each other and get each other through incredibly challenging times.
“The council and all public services have got to do more to support these local heroes. That’s why I asked for this plan to be put together, and I am extremely grateful for the community organisations and partners who have helped lead its development.
“It’s not about asking people to work for free, it’s about providing the support and help which communities need to support each other.
“We are extremely lucky in Wirral. We have thousands of residents who care passionately about their local communities and who think nothing of giving up their time to help others.
“I have been a councillor for almost 4 years now and I have also been amazed at how much work gets done – often unnoticed – by local people determined to make their community a better place.
“This strategy is about Wirral getting better at supporting those residents, at highlighting and celebrating what they do, and making it easier and more attractive to be a volunteer.”
The Wirral Together Strategy was developed by leaders in the field, alongside local organisations such as Wirral Council, Community Action Wirral, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Wirral CCG NHS, Wirral University Teaching Hospital and Merseyside Police.
Annette Roberts, chief executive of Community Action Wirral, said:
“I was really pleased to be asked to lead the development of this strategy, which recognizes the essential role activie citizens and volunteers play in building strong communities.
“There are many benefits which volunteering brings to the person offering their time and the people and organisations they support. For many, volunteering is about sharing skills to support others but it’s also a great way to meet new people, learn new things, have fun and improve health and well-being in the process.”
The new plan will be considered by the Council’s cabinet this coming Monday (19 June).
Volunteers in Wirral - Key Facts:
• 26% of residents formally volunteered at least once a month, with the highest level of formal volunteering being in Wirral West
• 33% of residents informally volunteer at least once a month, with the highest level of informal volunteering being in Wallasey
• 17% of residents volunteer at least one hour a week to support sporting activities – much higher than the regional average of 12%
• 48% of residents could be encouraged to volunteer if more information was available to them