This blog is our first volunteer story in a series that will be shared this week to celebrate #VolunteersWeek2020. The amazing people across Leeds that volunteered as Community Care Volunteers in response COVID-19 have made supporting vulnerable people across Leeds possible. Read their stories and find out more about the people who have been uplifting their communities.
Garnel Singh Gataura signed up to become a Community Care Volunteer with Voluntary Action Leeds when his work as a school teacher became limited during the coronavirus outbreak. Although Garnel is still working from home, he is only able to go into school once every 10 days, as staffing has been dramatically reduced.
“I felt useless basically and I wanted to give something back and contribute like I felt I was doing when I was going into work. I primarily volunteered to do something useful for the community
“I searched the internet and Community Care Volunteering was the first thing that came up. [Voluntary Action Leeds] asked for more information and then Hamara contacted me and it’s just gone from there.”
This is Garnel’s first experience volunteering and he feels it is the right thing to do and should become the norm.
“I think as a society, we are getting more detached from our community and neighbours and this just shows how much kindness is out there and how much people are willing to help neighbours without knowing them.”
As a Community Care Volunteer, Garnel has been spending most of his time delivering food parcels and medical prescriptions in the Middleton Park area. His first stop is Hamara, that has the items pre-packed up in cases for the volunteers to pick up and drop off at the addresses given to them.
“I think Hamara is absolutely brilliant at what it does, because it’s not only the food it gives out, there’s also fresh food too and that must be a real treat for some people.
“My little boy has been coming with me recently. I wanted him to see that these are the kinds of things we should be doing, just good values. He even enjoys it and looks forward to doing it.”
The Community Care Volunteering Programme is not currently accepting applications from new volunteers but there are still lots of other volunteering opportunities available in Leeds. To find out more, please visit https://doinggoodleeds.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer/