Neighbours across the Rochford District have been supporting each other throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, ensuring the elderly and vulnerable receive the help they need.
These community networks have mobilised to deliver food shopping to doorsteps, pick up prescriptions, and provide a ‘pick-me-up’ to those who may otherwise feel isolated.
Michaela Braun, who lives in Harrow Gardens, Hawkwell, set up a ‘What’s App’ group to enable neighbours in surrounding streets to help one another.
A neighbour then dropped leaflets to homes giving the phone numbers they needed to join the group or to call for support.
She said: “Between our group we are now collecting prescriptions, delivering groceries, vitamins, children’s milk and nappies, anything that might be needed.
“We’ve even managed to source a German speaking couple to keep in contact with one of our neighbours who was bilingual.
“I collected surplus milk and snacks from Costa which I delivered to the vulnerable people of our area also, all of who were completely overwhelmed by the group and everyone’s support.
“Every time we go shopping, we generally ask who needs what, and will source what we can for those that need it.
Michaela, who is also busy caring for her twin three-year-old boys, has been overwhelmed by the community spirit this has brought out in her neighbourhood.
“What started out as a small group of neighbours offering help has now developed into a small community of people who have become friends,” she said.”I can honestly say I feel so grateful for my neighbours and everyone who has gone above and beyond to help our local community and when this situation improves and we find ourselves leading normal lives again, I know I’d have inherited a group of people I can rely on and can call my friends.
For those who do not have this support, the ‘Rochford District Community Hub’ helpline is now available on 01268 779999.
This initiative has been set up by the MegaCentre, churches, Rayleigh, Rochford and District Association for Voluntary Service (RRAVS), Rochford District Council and a number of local volunteers from across the district, who have all signed up to support where they can, any resident that needs to talk.
Rochford District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community, Cllr Mike Webb, said: “I would like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone who has stepped in to help the elderly and vulnerable in their neighbourhoods; you are making a real difference at a time when people need it most.
“Where these support networks may not be available, the Rochford District Community Response Hub helpline is available ensure everyone can access the help that they need.”
To volunteer for the Rochford District Community Response Hub helpline please e-mail:[email protected]
If you are providing support to neighbours, please ensure you are following the social distancing guidelines: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
NHS advice on collecting prescriptions for others: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/caring-carers-and-long-term-conditions/can-i-pick-up-a-prescription-for-someone-else/