Engagement volunteers
Engagement volunteers
Published: Tuesday, 18th January 2022

With Coronavirus cases soaring across Oldham, council staff worked with the voluntary sector throughout Christmas and New Year to check in on the welfare of local residents.

Since 17 December, engagement teams have knocked on more than 15,000 doors across the borough.

During their conversations, staff ensured people were made aware of the latest Coronavirus guidance, including information on where they could get their Covid-19 vaccinations locally.

At a time of national emergency when the new variant Omicron was spreading rapidly across the country, these conversations were vital as staff could explain why we now require a third dose of the vaccine to boost our levels of protection.

Volunteers also provided additional support to those who were struggling, including providing details of local foodbanks and other emergency support services.

This work has continued into the New Year, with more properties set to be visited over the coming weeks, including areas such as Limehurst, Abbey Hills, Hathershaw and North Chadderton.

Leader of Oldham Council, Councillor Arooj Shah, said: “I want to sincerely thank everyone who volunteered over the holidays to put the needs and welfare of our residents first, especially at a time when you would normally be with your family and friends.

“We’re currently going through one of our toughest periods of the pandemic, as our case rates reach record highs locally. The importance of one five-minute conversation, really does go a long way, especially to those who live on their own and those who may be struggling.

“And we know these conversations can in some cases be lifesaving too as our volunteers encourage residents to get their vaccinations, which they may otherwise not have done without the right information.

“As we enter a new year, I just want to say a massive thanks for everyone’s efforts so far in Oldham during our fight against Covid-19 – particularly those from the voluntary sector, who work tirelessly for the good of our communities.

“Our volunteers continue to show the best qualities of our borough. It’s wonderful to see and long may it continue.”

Laura Windsor-Welsh, Oldham's Strategic Locality Lead for Action Together, added: "Hundreds of volunteers from local charities, community, voluntary and faith groups have yet again stepped forward to support their communities in Oldham this Christmas period.

"They have done a variety of crucial things, from talking to people on their doorstep, to supporting the NHS at the vaccination clinics, and providing a lifeline of food and other essential items desperately needed by families.

"Everyone can do a little bit to help, even just checking in on a neighbour who you think might be feeling a bit lonely or might need a couple of things from the shops.

"The support from volunteers has never been more important, so if you would like to do more you can do so today by signing up at www.actiontogether.org.uk/volunteer.

Volunteer David Hudson, who normaly works as a project manager, said: "I really loved working with the Resident Engagement Team as it was great to chat with residents from all backgrounds across the borough and listen to what they had to say on a range of topics.

"Residents were really appreciative of what we were doing and thought it was a great initiative by the council.

"The team spirit amongst the volunteers was excellent too, and each day flew by, even when it was snowing and raining.

"It was just amazing to see colleagues show such passion in assisting our local residents."

In addition to knocking on doors, our volunteers have also been working in the town centre to hand out face coverings to shoppers, with more than 3.500 issued so far.

Face coverings are now required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, and this work has been vital in preventing the spread of the virus.

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