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Volunteer Creates South Tyneside Mutual Aid Service

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A South Tyneside resident has created a safe way of volunteering in the community which now supports the work of the council.

Zoe Scott has been nominated as part of the council's #ProudtoSupport campaign for setting up South Tyneside Mutual Aid which comprises of 280 volunteers who help those impacted by the outbreak of coronavirus across the Borough.  

The aim of the initiative was to create a way to volunteer safely and help vulnerable residents and the voluntary sector in this time of need.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick, said: "On behalf of the people of South Tyneside, The Mayoress and I would like to convey our gratitude to you for setting up South Tyneside Mutual Aid and supporting a new army of volunteers.

"Volunteers are a vital asset in our communities especially at this extremely difficult time. It is wonderful to see the community spirit and action of people from all walks of life. As the Borough's First Citizen, I would like to say a huge personal thank you for playing such a great part in bringing our community further together and for helping us address this challenge right from the start. We are extremely #proud."

The team of volunteers have also set up a buddying system where people who may be struggling with their mental wellbeing are assigned a volunteer who they can contact if they ever need to talk.

Zoe said: "I am actually an artist in my normal day role but I do have a background in safeguarding and child protection.  I spotted Mutual Aid groups across the country and wanted to bring this to the borough, ensuring that they were brought to fruition in a secure way with the relevant DBS checks and screening.

"We now have a staggering 280 volunteers and we have been adopted by South Tyneside Council to the benefit of the wider community. Working alongside the Council, volunteers have access to mobile phones which residents can contact them on if they need support. 

"I simply put the wheels in motion and our wonderful volunteers collect and deliver essential items to the homes of residents. We want the community to still feel together at this difficult time.  It is wonderful to see people, whose paths would probably never have crossed, forge such connections.  I am forever grateful to all the volunteers who are working as one supporting the community and each other."

Zoe was nominated for a special #Proud thank you by Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council.

Councillor Atkinson said: "Zoe's organisational skills, hard work and commitment is outstanding and she now oversees scores of volunteers in conjunction with South Tyneside Council with safeguarding a priority.

"Zoe is modest, diplomatic and committed to Mutual Aid in South Tyneside and providing support and help to those that need it. A key strength of her organisation is that Mutual Aid has its volunteers working in their local community.  

"Zoe saw the opportunity to support vulnerable people in the borough and has worked extremely hard with the council to take this forward. Her sheer dedication towards this project has not gone unrecognised."

#ProudToSupport

Proud to Support is part of the #LoveSouthTyneside campaign, which was launched last year to promote everything that is great about South Tyneside, with a strong focus on civic pride, community spirit, volunteering and business links.

The campaign received over 300 nominations including council workers, health, police, fire and rescue and other public sector workers, businesses, local groups and individuals who have all played a part during the lockdown.

To read more of their stories, visit the Proud to Support site.

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