THE torch is passing to a new generation as young people in and around Ludlow have been stepping up to fill a volunteering gap.

Ben Willis, aged 17, is just one of the new generation that stood up to be counted when volunteers were needed by the ‘Hand Together Ludlow’ group.

Traditionally the majority of volunteers had been older people but that had to change with the Covid-19 pandemic as many volunteers found themselves in the vulnerable category and having to shield.

Mr Willis, who is studying tourism at Hereford College, after being a student at Lacon Childe School in Cleobury Mortimer, found time on his hands and decided to offer his services.

Most recently, he has been marshalling the vaccine clinics at the Mascall Centre and Ludlow racecourse although the volunteering at the racecourse came to an end when there was a fire at the cafe where he was working.

“I help people when they come for a vaccination and ask preliminary questions as well as trying to put them at ease,” said Mr Willis.

Although only 17, he knows what it is like to have a Covid vaccine as he is asthmatic and so is in the vulnerable category.

The reopening of colleges means that his availability will be more limited in the future but he stills intends to continue as much as he can.

In return for their time, young people gain experience, build confidence and volunteering can be helpful on a CV.

“We’re really excited about getting as many people as possible in their late teens and 20s volunteering,” said Peter Gray, volunteer co-ordinator at Hands Together Ludlow.

“Research shows how effective volunteering can be when it comes to helping improve people’s morale and self-esteem, and we know the impact the pandemic has had on this age group can be overlooked.”

More young volunteers are welcome.