VOLUNTEERS across Ryedale are being recognised for making a difference in their community.

More than 1,500 volunteers are supporting thousands of people every week with shopping, collecting prescriptions or having a conversation to prevent loneliness.

Joanna Chambers, of Marton, is currently shielding during the coronavirus lockdown to protect her nine-year-old son, William.

William has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and severe global development delay in addition to other complex medical issues.

During lockdown, Joanna has made regular befriending calls to others who are self-isolating, through the community support organisation in Ryedale.

“My befriending experience has been so positive,” said Joanna.

“I have been able to reach out to people I would never have met before at a time when I felt particularly isolated and unable to take positive action due to my own shielding situation.”

During Volunteer Week, from June 1 to 8, North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) is celebrating the generosity witnessed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Co-ordinating with other councils, the authority is working with 23 community organisations to match those without families, friends or neighbours to support from the voluntary section.

“This Volunteers’ Week, we want

to thank every single person who is helping someone in North Yorkshire during the current pandemic,” said Cllr Carl Les, leader of the county council.

“If you are volunteering as part of the community support organisation network, you’re at the heart of our response in making sure that nobody is left without essential supplies.

“We are also recognising those in towns and villages across the county who have set up groups where they live and individuals who have looked out for and supported neighbours during these challenging times.

“You might not consider yourself a volunteer, but you’re making a huge difference in the community.”

Despite changes to some lockdown restrictions, many people are advised to remain at home until June 30, at the earliest.

That includes people with underlying health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, anyone over the age of 70 and pregnant women.