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Pandemic Volunteering Stories – Helen, ‘Collie Squad’ Volunteer with Golcar Mutual Aid Group

I got involved with Golcar mutual aid group due to lockdown, I couldn’t go anywhere and felt quite helpless, so it was an opportunity to have some purpose. This is the first time I have volunteered in my local community in Golcar and I started in March 2020.

What do you do?

I first started helping with Golcar Mutual Aid group by sewing face coverings, and then became part of the ‘Collie Squad’ – a group of 9 Volunteer dog walkers. The request for a dog walker first came to us via the Council Covid support helpline, we were told it was one dog but then found out the request was for 4 dogs (including 3 collies) for a lady in the village who needed to isolate. As the dogs needed walking twice a day we had a rota and I helped twice a week. We walked the dogs in pairs at a social distance. As the dogs became more familiar with us we were able to let them off the lead sometimes and throw a ball for them – we lost lots of balls!

What have you found rewarding or memorable about your experience?

Volunteering as part of Golcar Mutual Aid group was a chance for me to make roots in the community and get to know the local people and area better. Due to lockdown, I was working from home online, and via zoom video calls with no face to face contact so volunteering with the collie squad was an opportunity to get out and get some physical exercise it was also good fun! The dog owner thanked us all with a bunch of flowers to show her appreciation which was a big surprise and we really appreciated her gesture. Volunteering during Covid has been a way for me to connect with other people in my community and be purposeful and gain some structure.

Find out more

Golcar Mutial Aid Group was established on 16 March 2020 by Jane Smith, it quickly grew to 174 volunteers that also delivered shopping, collected prescriptions and connected sewers providing scrubs, laundry bags & ear protectors midwives and local GP surgeries.

Golcar Mutual Aid Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/Golcar-Covid-19-Mutual-Aid-104688064501515/

More stories from Golcar Mutual Aid Group: https://communityresponsekirklees.com/2020/07/06/golcars-mutual-aid-story-talent-skill-and-goodwill/

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Covid-Safe Volunteering

If you are volunteering in lockdown, please make sure that you are staying safe and are up-to-date with the current rules and guidance.

From 29th March, you should continue to volunteer from home where possible unless you cannot reasonably do so. You can leave home to volunteer if you are not required to isolate for any reason. Please make sure that you are following the guidelines to stay safe.

From 12th April, we move to Step 2 of the Government's lockdown easing roadmap.  This is when charity shops, libraries, and community centres can reopen, and cafes can serve people outside, which will mean that more people will be volunteering outside their homes and we may start to get more new volunteering opportunities.

If you are looking for a volunteering role, please visit our I Want To Volunteer page.

Find out more about the lockdown rules for volunteering