MP Celebrates Bath’s Volunteer Heroes


Bath MP Wera Hobhouse hosted her latest community conversation on the 21st of January, speaking about local charity and volunteering in B&NES throughout the Pandemic. The full event can be viewed here.

Wera Hobhouse said she was “humbled as the MP” to think about how much “goodwill” the community in Bath has benefited from throughout this challenging year.

Wera made these comments whilst hosting an uplifting virtual public meeting on 21st January. The event showcased local volunteers who have supported the most vulnerable in the city since the pandemic began.

Wera Hobhouse said:

“Last March, local residents quickly came together to help those most in need. James Carlin and Sarah Williams-Martin of BaNES 3SG set things in motion, recruiting more than 2,000 volunteers, setting up systems, and managing this unique venture. So far, volunteers have purchased over £65,000 worth of shopping for residents unable to leave their homes and completed over 3,000 shops or medication pick-ups.

Guest speakers included Sarah Williams-Martin, the Emergency Volunteer Response Manager for BaNES 3SG, and Miles Lloyd, Coordinator for 3SG & Compassionate Community. Superstar volunteers Liz Ganapathy and Annabel Saunders spoke about their respective roles coordinating payments, doing shopping, and picking up prescriptions for those in need.

Tracy Barnes, the co-founder of the Bath Sewing Collective, recounted how more than 1,000 volunteer members have sewn over 10,600 items, including scrubs and face coverings. She said:

“Our group sprung up on Facebook in April 2020 in response to the desperate shortage of scrubs. Within a day we had 100 members, which in three weeks grew to over 1,000, and we were quickly providing scrubs, laundry bags, and scrub caps at an impressive rate. Our volunteers dropped off 150 pairs of scrubs at our hub in just a single day."

“Most of the action has taken place on kitchen tables and living room floors. We’ve proven that many hands make light work and even the smallest contributions add up to big things when we all work together.

“The achievement I am most proud of is the sewing community we have created. From the outset, co-founder Cerys Gasson and I saw this as equally important to providing scrubs to those in need. Having a positive and productive mission has sustained me through this pandemic. It has been very rewarding to hear that sentiment echoed by many of our volunteers, a number of whom are elderly or clinically vulnerable themselves. Forgive the pun, but we have truly reaped what we have sewn. I want to encourage everyone to involve themselves in volunteering. It is good for the soul.”

Wera Hobhouse said:

“As the pandemic lengthens, there is still much to be done. Hundreds of residents have already signed up to volunteer as indoor marshals at the Bath Racecourse vaccination center, and to support with food and medicine collection for those who cannot leave their homes. If you can help, you can register at Volunteering.”

The Sewing Collective is an inclusive and supportive community group that welcomes volunteers of any sewing ability. All that is required is a sewing machine and enthusiasm to contribute to charitable causes. For more information, visit www.thesewingcollective.org.


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