Room 2 Reward back supporting NHS Volunteers in 202129th October 2021
We welcome a guest blog from Joe Langtree, Operations Director for charity Room to Reward, who have partnered with the Unsung Hero Awards since 2019, offering hotel stays for our shortlisted volunteers and winners. We are grateful to have them back on board for 2021, so we can continue to give even more back to our Unsung Heroes…
Room to Reward was created to give some time back and say ‘thank you’ to the inspirational volunteers who give up their time and expertise to make a difference where it’s needed most.
It works on a simple premise. Hotels donate a few anticipated unsold rooms every year, charities and community groups nominate their Hidden Heroes for a break, Room to Reward makes it happen. Over 550 hotels located throughout the U.K. have joined the journey, from famous luxurious properties like The Dorchester and major operators like Jurys Inn to small, family-owned B&B’s.
To date, more than 1100 amazing volunteers have been nominated by over 600 organisations. Their stories are compelling, moving and inspiring. From front-line service delivery, fundraising and campaigning, to behind-the-scenes admin and IT support, the importance and impact of these wonderful people cannot be overstated. Having given up so much time to help those in need, it’s our pleasure and privilege to give just a fraction of that time back.
Like everyone, Room to Reward was hit hard by the pandemic. With travel restricted and hotels closed, we had to suspend operations for much of 2020. One thing that has really stuck out over the last 18 months is the number of people stepping up to help the vulnerable in their communities.
Over 47% of adults in England informally volunteered – through shopping for neighbours, collecting medications etc. – over the course of the various lockdowns. The importance of community action and the huge impact small acts of kindness can have has never been more prevalent. Neither has the significance of the role of volunteers. From supporting communities and organisations, to participation in clinical trials, vaccine distribution and testing centres, volunteers have been at the forefront of our reaction to, and recovery from, Covid-19.
We were therefore absolutely delighted to publicly re-open Room to Reward for Volunteers’ Week 2021 with a special campaign to recognise those who have truly stepped up and made a difference over the last 18 months. Nominations came in for telephone befrienders, medication collectors, food parcel deliverers, zoom companions and many, many more. Rita (pictured above) – nominated by Oakhaven Hospice – was one such Hidden Hero and you can see her story here: https://youtu.be/HlWRck9YjoM.
It is a real pleasure for us to be involved with the Unsung Hero Awards once again. As an event created to recognise the significance and importance of those whose contributions often fly under the radar, there is synergy between the awards and what we at Room to Reward try to do.
We are thrilled to be part of such a special and important event, one that is more relevant than ever given the extraordinary times we are going through.
Find out more about Room to Reward, the hotels and charities involved, and meet some of the Hidden Heroes here: https://www.roomtoreward.org/r2r-impact/