THE unsung heroes of Bolton’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic have received a well-deserved “thank you”.

Each year in June, Bolton Council and its partners takes the opportunity to observe both Volunteers’ Week , from June 1-7, and Carers’ Week from June 7-13.

This year the message was especially pertinent, because of the essential role both community volunteers and unpaid carers continue to play as Bolton responds to the pandemic and the recent rise in local cases.

Volunteers have been directly involved with delivering COVID information leaflets, helping residents access tests and working at vaccination sites.

The direct impact their efforts have had in the number of Bolton residents taking tests and getting vaccinated in recent weeks.

In the past year, many volunteers have also come forward with initiatives and creative ideas to support neighbours struggling during lockdown or self-isolation.

In Bolton, an estimated 40,000 unpaid carers provide vital support to a friend or relative.

Caring can be very rewarding but it can also be difficult, and the past year has been especially challenging.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has forced people to isolate, brought fear of infection and adversely impacted people’s mental health and wellbeing which makes the carer’s role even more demanding.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Cllr Nadim Muslim, said:

“Bolton’s volunteer sector is second to none and the last few weeks have proved that beyond any doubt.

“In a short time, we have seen thousands of people in Bolton getting tested and vaccinated against COVID-19, that simply would not have happened without our volunteers.

“I am incredibly proud of Bolton’s community spirit and I want to thank each of you who has given up your time to support the COVID response or help a neighbour in need.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Cllr Andy Morgan, said: “Every unpaid carer in Bolton makes an invaluable contribution to the local community and I want to thank each of them for everything they do.

“The past year has been an exceptional challenge for both our unpaid and professional carers.

“I want to assure them that everyone in Bolton appreciated their continued efforts.”