I was in conversation recently with people I’d only just met and was amazed to find out how much they do for their lonely elderly neighbour. This then made me think of how many other people in communities all over the county and nationwide give up their time to help others but don’t see themselves as volunteers.

The ladies I met explained how they regularly pop into their elderly neighbour’s house to make sure they are ok, do a bit of shopping, have a cup of tea and a chat. In fact this helped one lady to alert social services that her neighbour was in need of professional care and after years of knowing her also begun to recognise the early signs of dementia.

Research has suggested that loneliness can be more harmful than many physical health problems and in turn will help to create many serious mental health conditions. Both the ladies I was in conversation with thought nothing of this, the time, patience and kindness they give to their neighbour, is ‘just what we do’

In an age where loneliness is becoming more prevalent than the common cold is it not essential that we help to look after one another? After all are we not all in this together? We are all part of a community therefore do we not have a collective or social responsibility to one another? If we were in trouble or needed help would it not make us feel safer and more secure if we knew we could rely on our neighbours for help?

Let us know what you do for your neighbours, help us to acknowledge society’s hidden volunteers so that we can say a big ‘Thank You’ for you are the heart of your communities. Or do you know someone who tirelessly gives up their time to help others but doesn’t consider themselves a volunteer. As a wonderful way to acknowledge these people we annually hold a celebration of Cornwall’s volunteers aptly called ‘Cornwall Celebrates Volunteering’ It is like the Oscars for volunteers held each year in the Atlantic Hotel, Newquay hosted by The Lord Lieutenant E. Bolitho (the Queens representative in Cornwall) and radio Cornwall’s Daphne Skinnard.

We will be opening nominations for this year’s award on Monday 3rd April and you will have 5 months to submit your entries, look out for more information on our website and let’s all make sure that we show our appreciation for all the wonderfully kind people who give up their time for others.