His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex yesterday attended a celebration event at Ascot Racecourse, organised by Berkshire Community Foundation (BCF) to thank volunteers across Berkshire for their priceless contributions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sponsored by BCF corporate partners Ascot Racecourse, Mars Wrigley and Reckitt, the event saw 200 volunteers and representatives from over 80 charities and community groups gather at Ascot Racecourse to enjoy afternoon tea, whilst being entertained by magician Jamie Raven.
Volunteer representatives from a wide range of Berkshire-based charities who provided vital support during the pandemic met with HRH The Earl of Wessex and shared their experiences during the crisis.
Stephen Howard, Chair of Trustees at Berkshire Community Foundation, said: “Berkshire is home to an incredibly vibrant and caring charity sector, with volunteers at its core. In the last year, volunteers were vital in keeping crucial support services open and gave many people a lifeline through the most difficult time in recent history. We are proud to have supported them through the pandemic and are delighted that these everyday heroes have been given royal recognition.”
Over the last year, Berkshire Community Foundation’s Vital for Berkshire Coronavirus Fund gave £3.2 million in grants to help local charities, community and voluntary groups impacted by, and working to help people affected by, the COVID-19 crisis in Berkshire. In total, the Foundation supported 230 local charities and groups, funding more than 450 community projects which helped 1.5 million people across the County.
Volunteers have been widely recognised as having made a vital contribution to their communities in the last year. According to DCMS, one in five (21%) people across England formally volunteered at the beginning of the pandemic, whilst almost half (47%) volunteered informally, giving unpaid help to people affected by COVID-19.