The coronavirus pandemic has showed more than ever that community spirit and looking out for neighbours and friends in times of need is very much still alive.

Volunteers across the west have gone above and beyond to support vulnerable people in their local communities, making sure they don’t go without essentials and can stay safe from contracting the virus.

At Wessex Water, dozens of employees have turned to volunteering since the lockdown restrictions were enforced, either by taking time out of their working schedules or utilising their time to do something worthwhile if their workload decreased due to the pandemic.

From delivering hot meals to the elderly to making specialist PPE for healthcare workers, the dedicated water colleagues have done as much as they can to help people near them.

Here are just some of the ways that Wessex Water volunteers have been helping:

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Technical manager Jill Smith has been making cotton scrub bags for NHS staff to put their uniforms in so they can be transported home, and all put straight in the washing machine to reduce risk of spread of coronavirus to their families.

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CAD technician Jonathan Moore has been using his 3D design and printing skills to produce visors for healthcare workers in Cheltenham Hospital and the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

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GRID transition technician Sue Simmons has been running a community shop in ​a local retirement village to provide fresh and tinned goods as the village has a policy of no visitors or shopping trips for residents.

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A group of volunteers, including internal communications officer Emily Larque (pictured), have been delivering hot meals to elderly people in isolation in and around Bath made from surplus food from Wessex Water’s head office restaurant, in partnership with Age UK Bath and North East Somerset.

Kirsty Scarlett, head of community engagement at Wessex Water, is responsible for overseeing volunteering across the company and working with charity partners, such as Age UK, to determine who needs help.

“While our key workers have been working around the clock to continue to supply safe drinking water and treat waste during these trying times, other colleagues have been keen to help our customers in other ways by volunteering for local causes or just starting their own initiatives from home,” said Kirsty.

“We’ve encouraged all our people who see a local need to get involved and contribute some time, so it’s fantastic that so many have come forward wanting to do something meaningful and helpful for their local community.”

Wessex Water’s ongoing active role in volunteering and community support across its region was what inspired the company to partner with Newsquest for the Wiltshire Village of the Year competition, which is open for nominations now.