Waiheke Ratbusters support person Andrew Maloy has been busy filling in for volunteers who are taking a break or isolating due to Omicron. photo sup

Aotearoa’s volunteer sector is struggling during the Omicron outbreak and several island organisations are reaching out for support.

Waiheke Ratbusters coordinator Sally Horwood has worked with hundreds of island volunteers over the years but says that understandably some took a step back when Covid-19 hit in 2020.

Since then, with multiple lockdowns and community cases, regaining volunteer numbers has been an uphill battle, and Sally says that like most Waiheke businesses, volunteer groups are suffering from “staff shortages”.

Disruptions to volunteers’ usual routines, such as looking after family, or isolating, has meant fewer volunteers are available overall, says the Ratbusters coordinator.

“Unfortunately, the Ratbusters February quarterly pulse is behind schedule due to supply delays and volunteers being away, isolating or just preferring to be cautious and stay home.

“Our volunteers have been told to stay home if they are vulnerable or just feel safer there, and try to find someone else to cover their reserve or walkway.”

Sally says some people are stepping up to do extra and to stand in for those who are isolating or taking a break from volunteering due to Covid-19. • Sophie Boladeras

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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