Community volunteers could be recognised for supporting vulnerable during pandemic

Residents who stepped up to help the most vulnerable people in Southend could be recognised in a special ceremony held by the council.

At the start of the lockdown more than 1,200 people volunteered with the council, including people answering phones as part of the council’s helpline, local scout groups delivering food parcels and other who helped delivered lifesaving medicines.

Southend’s Conservative Group is now calling on the council to launch a special recognition scheme for those volunteers, in a motion submitted ahead of a Full Council meeting next week.

Documents submitted to the council and signed by party leader Councillor Tony Cox and deputy leader Cllr Meg Davidson said: “There have been many stories of those in our communities who have focused on the physical, mental, emotional and financial wellbeing of our residents, and in these extraordinarily challenging times innovated to find new and creative ways to help and support the most vulnerable in our community.

“Therefore the council should create a local recognition scheme to honour our local community heroes who went above and beyond during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Cllr Cox said: “We envisage this as initially a one-off recognition honour with recipients picking up their honour at a special council meeting.”

The motion has already gained the support of the council’s deputy leader, Independent councillor Ron Woodley, who said he was keen to back the idea.

He said: “There has been a lot of volunteers who have done a great deal of work for local people in Southend and personally I would be happy to support this.”

The motion will be formally submitted to the council next week and discussed by council bosses at a later date.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter