But we will be carrying on supporting our neighbours
by Andrew Auld
The past three months have turned our world upside down. However, in this small corner of the world, these parishes of Crich and South Wingfield in which we live have really risen to the challenges that this upheaval has thrown at us.
When people and organisations came together to form Crich Area Mutual Aid, and when residents stepped forward to volunteer in such mass numbers (200+ of you!) it really felt like we were going to make it through the uncertain and difficult times that lay ahead.
Together, we have:
- answered over 650 Helpline calls
- delivered over 500 prescriptions
- made and delivered over 1000 meals
- walked hundreds of miles in supermarkets and local shops to buy food and supplies for shielding and self-isolating people
- supported Crich Careline in the vital work they do and made many calls to isolated people to have a supportive and cheering chat
- written thousands of words on websites and on social media to keep people informed
- supported the activities of local businesses as they adapted their services
- set up four community pantries to provide vital supplies for families in need
- established a brand new Digital Friends project, attracting significant grant funding, to help connect people who haven't used technology in this way before
- done so much to keep our neighbours, friends and families safe and well
This work has not gone unnoticed. Crich Parish Council (who kindly funded the helpline) has written to thank all of the volunteers for the hard work they have done.
We have also received a very special thank you from the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire in recognition of the work being done across our communities.
Winding down, but not winding up
As more and more people are emerging from lockdown and many aspects of normal life are re-establised, the time has come for us to reduce the support provided by the Mutual Aid volunteers. We are receiving fewer and fewer calls to the helpline and the normal routes to accessing prescriptions and supplies are available again and no longer overwhelmed.
The prescriptions delivery service will be ceasing on Friday 10 July. Read this article for full details and for information about alternative provision.
The Mutual Aid Helpline will be continuing for now, but we will be looking at how to change its purpose and how it is supported in the next few weeks.
What is important is that people know that the community are not disappearing just because the services are reverting to normal.
The Mutual Aid group will monitor the national and local situation closely over the coming months and we are ready to re-introduce any of the services we have been offering if they become necessary again.
I can't tell you how many emails and messages of thanks we have had from extremely grateful residents...just the knowledge that there were people out there willing to help was such a support for people.
It is also worth saying, that as we come out of this phase of the pandemic, there will be other needs for people to step forward and get involved to support the community or join a community organisation. So don't put your hand down just yet!