Almost three-quarters of the UK’s public service heroes have undertaken volunteer work or raised money to help others during the pandemic, a survey released on Public Service Day has revealed.
The nation’s nurses, teachers, firefighters, carers, administrators, civil service workers and police officers have been some of the hardest working during one of the most difficult periods in the country’s history.
But remarkably, they have still found time to give something back to society, according to a national survey commissioned by public sector and civil service membership club Boundless.
It’s a revelation that makes Public Service Day on Wednesday 23 June all the more poignant.
Darren Milton at Boundless said: “If we didn’t know already just how special the people who work in public service are, these survey results really underline it.
“Not only have they been working tirelessly to help their country in such difficult times but they are also the heart and soul of the communities they serve, often volunteering for roles to help others or raising money for good causes.
“Now it is time, on Public Service Day, for us all to say ‘thank you’ and let them know we really do appreciate everything they do.”
More than 72% of public sector workers have volunteered or raised money during the pandemic, but not for the first time.
In fact, those polled said they have raised on average £8,131 per person during the course of their career for charity.
With 5.5m people working in public service roles nationwide that is an awful lot of money.
Some of the activities supported by public service workers who volunteered or raised funds over the last 15 months include:
- Donating items, (30%)
- Taking part in sponsored walks or runs, (15%)
- Delivering meals or items to the underprivileged or vulnerable people, (14%)
- Organising fundraising events, (13%)
- Producing and sharing important information on Covid-19, (13%)
- Organising virtual quiz nights, (12%)
- Making or donating PPE, (9%)
- Providing online counselling services, (8%)
The survey also showed what public sector and civil service workers are most looking forward to once pandemic restrictions are lifted. These include:
- Interacting with and meeting members of the public, (26%)
- Celebrating with colleagues in person, (24%)
- Experiencing appreciation from the public, (18%)
- Moving back in to live with family, (11%)
Tellingly, the top answer for those working in the NHS was ‘looking forward to families and friends being able to visit loved ones in hospital’.
Darren Milton at Boundless added: “That answer probably says it all about the selfless and caring attitude of so many public sector workers. It makes Public Service Day all the more important this year.
“It’s important not to lose sight of what those working in the public sector have done, and continue to do, for the country.”
Public Service Day, officially launched by the United Nations as long ago as 2003, has barely been recognised in the UK until two years ago, when Boundless began campaigning for it to be celebrated more publicly.
Now its profile is growing, with backing from MPs on all sides of the House and increasing recognition across the country.
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne, said: “In normal times, what these people do in classrooms, offices, hospitals and care homes, to name just a few locations, is something to celebrate.
“But over the last 15 months, the work of our dedicated public servants has been the difference between life and death, the difference between vulnerable children staying in school or being lost to the system; the difference between rubbish on our streets or regular refuse collection in such challenging times. The whole country owes them all a debt of gratitude on Public Service Day.”
There is still work to do, however, to thank those who have given so much.
A worrying 58% of people working in public service say they don’t feel appreciated enough by the public. People across the country can help change that by getting behind Public Service Day.
For more information, inspirational stories, and tips on how to get involved, please visit www.boundless.co.uk/publicserviceday and engage on social media with @bemoreboundless using the hashtags #extraordinarypeople and #PublicServiceDay.