East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has praised the scores of volunteers who have provided essential help to vulnerable people in the constituency during the COVID-19 lockdown.
While the elderly, isolated and those with underlying health conditions have been confined to their homes, they have had food and other essentials brought to their homes by teams of volunteers.
They brought not just goods, but friendly faces to those who may not have seen another person for days, weeks or even months.
Ms Sugden was speaking during Volunteer Week, which runs for the first week in June.
“I want to say thank you to all those who have volunteered to help during this difficult and often lonely period,” she said.
“Those living in rural areas have found life under lockdown often more difficult than those in towns and the many volunteers have made a real difference to their communities and their neighbours’ lives.”
She encouraged anyone who was able to volunteer for one of the many groups still accepting volunteers to do so, saying the rewards were huge.
“You get to give something back to your community in a way that money can’t buy,” she said.
“The social value of it is massive. These volunteers help fill the gap when government money or donations are limited.”
Volunteer Now, which manages the Northern Ireland wide database of volunteering opportunities, confirmed there were plenty of varied volunteering opportunities in the constituency for people to get involved in.
They can be found at www.volunteernow.co.ukor @VolunteerNow1.