Covid-19 support group's plea: We still need your help

July 02 2020

Covid-19 support group's plea: We still need your help

PEOPLE in Hanham have been asked to continue supporting their local Covid-19 group despite some easing of the lockdown measures.
The Covid-19 BS15 – Hanham support group was set up on Facebook by resident Vicky Robinson in March. After seeing that Councillor Andrea Reid had set up one for Kingswood, she got in touch to see if something similar could be created for Hanham too.
The group has gone from strength to strength and has provided services to support people with food shopping, prescriptions collections, dog walking, and food parcels, as well as providing assistance to parents who have children with special needs.
Vicky told the Voice the response from residents has been fantastic, and said she had been overwhelmed by the community spirit she has seen.
She said: “It’s been the craziest three and a half months of my life! I’ve not had a single day off, and at the start I was working from six in the morning until 11 at night to get everything set up. My background is mainly in marketing and HR, and I also used to run a care home, but I have never done anything voluntary in my life until now.
“I have loved every minute; it’s been hard and there has been some pretty heartbreaking stories along the way, but the sense of community has been phenomenal – I can see more people saying hello to each other now  when I walk down the street.
“At the start we distributed leaflets to 18,000 addresses in BS15, after receiving funding from the local parish councils, which informed people about our service and the help they can access.  We have also just created a 24 page booklet for residents, offering more advice on how people can get help and also get support with their mental health.
“During this time we have seen lots of mental health issues like anxiety creep up, especially with children, and we have listed details of over 30 organisations where people can get help. Local business advertising has helped to cover some of cost of this, which is great.
“As part of our work we have linked up with the Kingswood Food Bank, and have raised over £4000 in donations for them. Kingswood Community Transport have been absolutely amazing, and they have carried out all deliveries for the food bank and also helped with prescription collections, all on a voluntary basis. In addition, The New Rupali Tandoori in Kingswood has offered free curries once a month to Ignite Life so they could distribute to families in need in the area, and our volunteers  have delivered them to the families.
“A lot of people have also been re-housed during this time with no money or furniture. With the support of residents we have been able to fully kit out three properties with furniture, all of which has been donated by residents which is amazing.
“One of the houses we kitted out was for someone who had been housed but was literally sleeping on floor with a sheet. They were so grateful for our help that they wanted to do something in return, and now they walk a greyhound for couple that are shielding.
“We are going to keep the group running for as long as we can, especially for people who choose to self isolate for 14 days, people with mobility issues and also elderly people who may be nervous about going out. We have done well over 1000 jobs since we started and received over 2000 phone calls, and some people we have helped been unbelievably grateful. I’d like to say a huge thanks to all of the volunteers and everyone who has supported the BS15 team so far.”
Vicky also told the Voice that the group has seen a significant drop in volunteers since people have been returning to work, and that they still need local people to help them, even if they are only able to do one food shop a week alongside their normal shop.
To contact the group and to find out more about their work, call 0808 164 1047 or visit www.bs15-support.org.