St James’s Church has launched a village support network to help as we all work our way through the next few months. This is going to be easier together.

Core principle: No direct physical contact so NO risk of infection to either the vulnerable or the volunteer

Aim 1: Provide companionship (via phone) to the elderly/vulnerable/those self-isolating who may be lonely, concerned or simply bored stiff by being confined at home. We would aim to make regular calls just to check people are all right and, if wanted, have a chat about trivia and normal life.

Aim 2: Ensure food supplies for those, usually elderly, people who have to self-isolate but don’t have access to a computer. Volunteers would ring, get a shopping list and then organise an online shopping delivery/do shopping & leave on doorstep.

Aim 3: Regular phone contact would also pick up any unexpected issues which the group might be able to resolve safely or would simply refer on to the appropriate organisations. This system could also be used to support our local frontline staff – if you work in the NHS, police, social services, food distribution, prison or other frontline service and think there is some back up we can offer you such as shopping, while you are working flat out, email katesmith278@btinternet.com

So what are the mechanics? And would you like to be involved?

We are compiling two lists.

The first is of those in our community who are elderly, vulnerable in other ways and/or self isolating. If this is you and you would like some back-up or phone company, ring Kate on 07969 419574 with your name, phone number, address and whether you would like a regular check call, a chat and/or shopping.

Our second list is for volunteers who are ready to spare some time checking on people and possibly doing some shopping.

The two lists may overlap. For example, I may have to self-isolate but I can still pick up the phone to check on someone else or do an online shop for them. Indeed, the process of helping others may make the isolation easier!

If you would like to be a volunteer, can you email katesmith278@btinternet.com with your name, preferred phone number and whether you can to offer telephone company and/or online shopping. Please also say if you have a DBS check for any organisation. It doesn’t matter if you don’t, we still need your help – but safeguarding is important.

One final note: this will be entirely staffed by volunteers, some of whom are elderly and vulnerable themselves, others of whom are still juggling full time work and evolving family commitments. So, this may not be perfect – but we are going to give this our best shot. Do join us!

Kate Smith, St James Church

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