VOLUNTEERS across north Essex have been praised for going our of their way to help those in need during the pandemic.

This week marks Volunteers’ Week.

Across Colchester and Tendring kind-hearted residents have stepped up to deliver groceries to the vulnerable, make NHS staff scrubs and nurses and doctors have returned to the frontline.

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive, North East Essex clinical commissioning group, said: “An incredibly strong community spirit has been in evidence over the past few months; the role of volunteers has had a very positive impact on the lives of people who might otherwise have struggled greatly, from dropping off prescriptions to the vulnerable, providing over-the-phone catch ups to those on their own to delivering much-needed groceries.

“I would also particularly like to thank those staff who have volunteered to work in our local hospitals.

"They have returned to work in roles they previously held, such as physiotherapists, helping the NHS cope during this busy time.”

Nick Hulme, chief executive of the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust, said: “Our volunteers do amazing work and we simply couldn’t run our hospitals without them.

"I want to say a massive thank you on behalf of all of us, but most importantly on behalf of the thousands and thousands of patients we treat every day. Without our volunteers’ help, their care simply wouldn’t be as good.”

Tracy Rudling, chief executive at Community360, praised the volunteers who have stepped in to help during the crisis.

She added: “This Volunteers Week, it is important to highlight the invaluable support that our volunteers have provided during these unprecedented times.

"Never has it been so important to say thank you to all the wonderful volunteers across Essex.

"From collecting prescriptions to delivering food parcels to providing telephone befriending when it’s most needed, their services are a poignant reminder of our amazing community spirit, which has positively impacted our most vulnerable residents.

"A heartfelt thank you to every organisation and individual who have helped so many."