Hastings HEART hits the beach to thank its volunteers
With National Volunteers Week taking place from June 1 - 7, Hastings’ volunteer workforce has found a very special way of saying thank you to the army of people who stepped up to offer help during the pandemic.
Founded only in March last year, the Hastings Emergency Action Resilience Team – or HEART, for short – saw over 1,000 people come forward to work as volunteers to help people in need during the crisis.
And as their way of saying thank you, the group formed their own ‘heart’ on the town’s beach, saying a big “Thank You” to the hundreds of thousands across the UK who kept the country fed, healthy and supported by giving up their time for others.
National Volunteers Week is the annual celebration recognising the work of the many thousands of volunteers up and down the country who give up their time to help others, often keeping vital services running where resources are stretched to capacity.
But, for Hastings, this has special importance, as over 1,000 people stepped forward to volunteer for HEART, shopping for isolating and vulnerable people, doing pharmacy and vaccination centre runs, ferrying NHS keyworkers to their hospital shifts and delivering thousands of food parcels to low-income families for Hastings Foodbank.
“We had no idea we would get that kind of response,” says HEART co-founder Alastair Fairley “But it’s meant we’ve been able to do so much to help people in need during this crisis. Now we want to do even more, get people back on their feet, and help rebuild our town in health, wellbeing and the economy.”
Now HEART volunteers are supporting the town’s vaccination programme too, with free transport for hundreds of people in need to get their jabs, helping out at pop-up clinics, and – now – working with the town’s GP-led programme to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
Co-founder Kim Batty adds: “Without the support of so many volunteers, none of this would have been possible, so it’s only right their incredible hard work should be recognised. But those thanks go out to all the volunteers here in Hastings that do so much to keep our community going. They’re a hidden army, and this week, it’s all about recognising them!”
For more information about HEART, or to request help, please visit www.hastingsheart.com or call them on 01424 235290.