City Council marks first ever thank you day

Published: Monday, 5th July 2021

This weekend, Oxford City Council is saying a big thank you to everyone who has helped the city keep going throughout the pandemic.

This weekend, Oxford City Council is saying a big thank you to everyone who has helped the city keep going throughout the pandemic.

Sunday July 4 is the first ever national Thank You Day. This is an opportunity for everyone to show their appreciation to all those who have helped them and their loved ones since the first lockdown in March 2020.

It’s a chance to reflect upon the impact and devastation of Covid-19 while celebrating the resilience of local communities and the hard work and dedication of everyone who has united to give their time and expertise to help pull people through. 

It is immediately followed by the first national NHS, Social Care and Front Line Workers Day, on Monday July 5. Taking place on the 73rd birthday of the NHS, this is a day of thanks for doctors, nurses care workers and paramedics, together with the many other critical workers who have kept shops open and stocked, protected people’s safety and ensured essential services have continued to run during a time of unprecedented challenge.

 “I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone in the city. The way Oxford has risen to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic has been incredible. Although there may be further challenges ahead, we will get through them together.

“Since the first lockdown, thousands of volunteers in Oxford have given their time to help others, organisations have adapted to urgent need and others have sprung up because they knew they could help and they all deserve particular thanks for their efforts.”

Leader of the Council, Councillor Susan Brown

During the last 12 months, the Council’s Oxford Together partnership with Oxford Hub matched over 4000 requests for help to willing volunteers. They have provided invaluable help with practical tasks such as grocery shopping and collecting prescriptions for people who are housebound or self-isolating.

Volunteers have also been helping to tackle social isolation through a ‘phone link’ service, where those who are struggling with loneliness are matched to a suitable, trained volunteer who can call them every day to check in on them and provide a listening ear and a friendly voice.

But it is not just Oxford Hub. There are countless other organisations that have helped. The council has also worked with Oxford Mutual Aid, Oxford Homeless Project, Oxford Community Action, the Central Mosque, local churches and many more organisations whose selfless, dedicated volunteers have helped deliver vital services and support since the first lockdown.

Volunteers have also been supporting the NHS by helping at vaccine centres and testing centres, taking people to medical appointments and those who have helped Oxford’s medical researchers with vaccine and treatment research.

People have also been helping out as part of their payed for employment, undertaking new ways of working and adapting to meet new needs.

 “Teachers and school staff have adapted to delivering online lessons while keeping classrooms open for those in need. They have also supported our children through the educational and social impacts of lockdowns.

“Our social care staff, particularly those working in care homes, have faced particular challenges while our public health team have worked tirelessly to keep cases low locally.

“Within the council, our officers have supported local businesses with grants, advice and innovations to help them survive, adapt and operate in a COVID safe way.

“Our staff and partners have worked tirelessly on homelessness. They immediately brought rough sleepers into COVID-safe accommodation and have since helped over 120 move on to more permanent housing. Every organisation we work with has pulled together and overcome traditional barriers for this common cause.

“Mental health services and charities, have had a particular challenge offering support to people for whom lockdown, illness and grief has caused much invisible harm. We are so grateful for the work that they have done.

“All of these people deserve our thanks for their actions during the pandemic.

“Everyone who works in our hospitals,primary care services and pharmacies – the nurses and doctors, porters, cleaners and support staff who are all essential to providing patient treatment – will be in my thoughts on Sunday and Monday. As will everyone involved in rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in health service history.

“I do particuarly want to thank the university research team who developed the vaccine and ran the trials, the volunteers who took part and Oxford Biomedica who manufacture the vaccine.

“Most of all, I want to thank the people who live here and make this city such a special, kind, compassionate, diverse and passionate place. Without the human connections we have made, the care we have shown and the resilience we have found within us, many more people would have suffered.”

Councillor Susan Brown

The idea for National Thank You day was proposed by a small group of people from across the UK, including May Parsons, the nurse who delivered the UK’s first COVID vaccination jab in Coventry in December.

The idea quickly won support from hundreds of organisations, including the Royal Voluntary Service, NHS and Church of England, with celebrities, councils, schools and businesses also providing momentum.

The first NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers’ Day is a new annual event and

incorporates a programme of national events including:

  • 10:00 am : Raising and Displaying the NHS, Social Care & Frontline Workers’ Day Flag and Banner
  • 11:00 am : Two-Minute Silence and Playing of the Last Post and Reveille
  • 1:00 pm : The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of the NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers
  • 1:00 pm : Street, Garden, Village Parties, And Party At Home
  • 4:00 pm : Afternoon Tea
  • 8:00 pm : Clapping Our Heroes & the ringing of church bells