As Wales moves into the “firebreak” lockdown this weekend, the Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, called on communities to come together in a safe way to support those who are most vulnerable among us.
Jane Hutt said:
Through the strict UK-wide lockdown earlier this year, volunteers, third sector organisations and community groups came together with spirit and conviction to support local communities. We could not have continued to function so well without your help, support and hard work.
You have already made a huge difference across Welsh communities. Community groups have shown how well volunteers work together, and I wish to applaud and celebrate the efforts made, and encourage you to continue supporting your local communities from home, if reasonably practicable, or by staying as close to home as possible.
The firebreak rules allow us to provide care or help to a vulnerable person, including emergency help. This includes getting food and medicines for them. But it is important you do not put yourself or the person you are caring for at risk.
Speaking to the people of Wales on Monday, the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said:
This is the moment to come together; to play our part in a common endeavour to protect the NHS and save lives. This will not be easy, but we will do it together.
Ruth Marks, Chief Executive of Wales Council for Voluntary Action, said:
Volunteering, both formally and informally, has been invaluable during the pandemic in supporting those most vulnerable and taking pressure off the NHS.
As we now move into a short national lockdown, there will many people and groups needing support, and thankfully people and groups willing to help - whether that’s collecting shopping, dropping off prescriptions, or making a friendly phone call.
Guidance on how to volunteer safely and effectively is available on Volunteering Wales.
Following the end of the firebreak, a new set of national rules will be introduced, covering how people can meet and how the public sector and businesses operate. An update on volunteering will be provided following this.