Charities and voluntary organisations in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have been working in new and innovative ways to continue their support for the local community in recent months, and Community Action Network (CAN) is celebrating their incredible efforts during National Volunteers Week (1-7 June). 

From virtual yoga sessions and online counselling to hot meal deliveries and locally grown veg for food banks, the local voluntary sector has demonstrated amazing resourcefulness and resilience during the coronavirus pandemic.

At Crumbs, a Bournemouth charity that helps people with mixed needs and disabilities develop skills for the hospitality industry, the team have continued to provide their valuable training through Zoom, and have been busy cooking hot meals and desserts for residents at Hibberd Court, an Aster Housing sheltered housing scheme. They have been able to prep and deliver these meals thanks to funding of £4,000 from the Dorset Community Foundation, which they heard about through CAN’s regular updates to its members.

Bournemouth Parks Foundation has taken its innovative Parks in Mind programme online, with fantastic events and activities including Facebook Live ornithology sessions, online yoga and ‘Tea on Tuesday’. The charity has also been delivering seeds and nature journals on request, and encouraging people to grow wildflowers on their windowsill and enjoy the nature on their doorstep.

The team at Boscombe-based charity Grounded Community has joined forces with the nearby Boscombe Community Fridge to create Feed our Community, an initiative to provide food to those most in need in the local community. Grounded Community has donated fresh veg from its Secret Garden to the initiative, to help expand capacity, and is busy fundraising for this and other projects.

And over at PramaLife in Poole, the team continues to support older people in the community with a new telephone befriending service, plus weekly virtual quizzes and daily craft activities.

Many other local charities and voluntary organisations have also been delivering vital support services online: Citizens Advice BCP is offering web chats to those who need advice; the clinical team at Dorset Parent Infant Partnership is providing support to families online; We Are With You continues to provide its drug and alcohol support over the phone or through digital support groups; and Access Dorset is continuing its programme to support clients through Zoom sessions. 

Karen Loftus, Chief Executive of Community Action Network (CAN), said: “The incredible work that has taken place in recent months demonstrates the strength of our local voluntary and community sector. Not only have volunteers played a vital role in the practical response to COVID-19, but they are also working creatively to ensure people can still benefit from the normal services and support they receive too. I would like to say a huge thank you to each and every volunteer who has made this possible.”

Find out more about how local voluntary organisations are supporting the community during the pandemic at