This week is national Volunteers Week, and despite the Covid pandemic restrictions causing many volunteers to be in lockdown or self-isolation, some local heroes are still finding creative ways to support others.
Retired headteacher Jacqui is one of our wonderful volunteers here at City Hearts, Jacqui continues to be every bit as committed to supporting the survivors of modern-day slavery as she ever was, and when she is not helping with online homework clubs, she is busy sewing home-made facemasks.
Jacqui’s daughter suggested Sheffield headquartered anti-trafficking charity City Hearts when her mum talked about looking for a way of helping people in her spare time after retirement. That’s when she isn’t cycling, cross-stitching or practising her French!
Jaqui says: “When I first started volunteering at City Hearts, I did it as I wanted to put something back into society but I was not prepared for how much I would personally get out of it. I absolutely admire the strength of character that our clients display after all they have been through, and how many of them remain so cheerful despite everything life has thrown at them. The support they show one another and get from City Hearts’ staff is admirable. Seeing clients change over the course of a few weeks from being frightened, alone and unsure to becoming more confident and happier, makes the time I invest so worthwhile.”
“I tend to work alongside the rescued children which has been so rewarding, seeing the way they too gain in confidence: learning to play alongside others, smiling, laughing and trying new things, gaining new skills. The love that these mums have for their children is deep and protective and watching each relationship develop makes you feel warm inside. There are so many ways to help at City Hearts that utilise a whole wealth of skills, I feel anyone would be able to find their niche.”
During the Covid 19 pandemic, face to face contact has not been possible, but even under these circumstances, it is possible to find ways in which to help. Jacqui has joined some ‘Zoom’ meetings with clients and staff to show a friendly face and keep in touch. She is also continuing to support some of the children at the Zoom Homework Club.
“I own a sewing machine and have put it to good use during lockdown, sewing washable face masks for the clients so they feel more confident when they are able to go to the shops”, continues Jacqui. “It’s only a small thing, but the sum total of everyone’s efforts helps to make life easier for them all. I am so grateful to everyone at City Hearts for being welcoming and for making volunteering so rewarding and so much fun.”
Rosie Memory is City Hearts’ volunteer manager. She says: “This week we are celebrating each and every one of our outstanding, caring volunteers who have supported our vulnerable clients over the past few years. They come from all walks of life and ages. From university undergraduates sharing skills to grandmas in their seventies who offer a shoulder to cry on and a warm hug.”
Visit the volunteer area of our website for more information.