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Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Support Group.

Mon 1 Feb 2021

Lydia Worthing from the Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Support Group writes about the history and current activities of the group which was setup to help residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are currently looking for more volunteers in the area.

'I have included photos of our amazing volunteers,

For background, I set this group up in March 2020 before the national lockdown was announced. My concern, as with a lot of people at that time was the worry that vulnerable people who needed to isolate would be left behind in the pandemic. The thought of people being lonely, and potentially putting themselves at risk to access their essentials made me feel ill with worry, so I created a Facebook group asking for help. Within a week I had recruited local volunteers who know the area and community demographic really well, and helped me with a targeted leaflet campaign. 

We also forged links with the local pharmacy, and local shops and supermarkets in order to spread the word that we were available to help. 

Throughout 2020, we responded to over 1500 requests for help with shopping, prescription deliveries, dog walking, and signposting people to statutory services for ongoing support. We also helped to make visors for healthcare staff, and assisted with collecting donations to the local foodbank. 

As a mental health nurse, I was particularly concerned with regards to our community experiencing loneliness. I was so humbled to see a thriving befriending community come from people asking for help. 10 months later we have people forging real and lasting relationships with their local neighbours and these will continue regardless of a pandemic. 

We have a fantastic group of volunteers who have been absolutely amazing. Even when most of them returned to work from furlough, they continue to help around work and family commitments, and nothing is too much trouble. We have recently had a surge in requests for help in response to the renewed lockdown we find ourselves in and so have begun to become busier again.' 

The group are always looking for new volunteers, and if you are local to Heath Hayes and Wimblebury,  please contact them on tel: 07368 448667. There are 4 people who coordinate any calls for help coming in, so you can speak with Lydia, Samatha, Philippa or Heather for an informal chat.