What a month its been! Since a small group looked to set up the action group to help self-isolating residents during the lockdown, the growth and pace of change has been a complete roller-coaster.
As of today:
- We have had a truly amazing response from our community with around 100 volunteers helping their fellow residents
- We are currently actively helping over 140 residents and the number is still growing
- We are registered as one of the 27 recognised HUBs within Horsham District Council (“HDC”) and so are a key part of the wider national effort. This brings with it support and advice, but also the need for various levels of reporting and control
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We are operating:
- A dedicated phone helpline service 6 days a week from 10:00 – 15:00 via a team of 15 volunteers for vulnerable residents to call for help
- A daily pick-up and delivery service from 4 local stores and 3 pharmacies 6 days a week via 42 volunteers on a rota basis allocated via a weekly doodle poll
- A befriending chatline service via 12 volunteers each operating in a dedicated region in the village
- A DVD/ book library
- An on-going communication programme. This started with posters in the village and fliers through every letterbox. It has been followed up with Easter Cards for each registered vulnerable resident
- A soon-to-be-launched website – www.wcanag.org – hopefully live this coming week
Our mission is “Mobilising our community to help alleviate suffering during the COVID-19 Pandemic”
HOW IS THIS MANAGED?
General communication of the mission, action and how to get involved is via:
- The website as soon as it is live
- Facebook page – group general engagement www.facebook.com/groups/1252519734946060/. This can be a powerful tool to share highlights, wins and memorable moments
- Nextdoor app – group general engagement www.nextdoor.co.uk/neighborhood_feed/
- The initial leaflet drop to all houses in the village and the posters
Communication of the operation is via:
- The various WhatsApp groups are intended for volunteers to communicate operational specifics and are already very busy:
- A general volunteer WhatsApp group (“Action Group Volunteers”)
- Specific daily WhatsApp groups detailing the specifics for the day – the daily rota and for communication between phoneline operators, the delivery team and co-ordinators
- An email account: for the befriending helpline and HDC
- HDC portal – a weekly report is delivered electronically by each hub detailing: no: of volunteers, no: of residents registered for help, weekly stats on deliveries of food, medicine and befriending calls made
HOW IS THIS BEING FUNDED?
- Setup costs of around £200 were kindly reimbursed by WCPC
- We set up a crowd-funder page which has attracted just over £600
- An application for a dedicated bank account with NatWest has been actioned
REACH AND LINKS TO OTHER GROUPS?
Although this was originally set up to assist the most vulnerable, mainly elderly in our community we have discovered that the definition of “vulnerable” is actually far wider than originally envisioned. We should look to capture all of these names, even if all we end up doing is passing it on to HDC.
We are also now looking to extend the reach to help key workers within our community – if you know someone that fits into this, please send an email to this email address and we will see what we can do to help these wonderful people.
The depth of response from our community has been truly heart-warming. Can I just take this opportunity to thank every single one of you that has volunteered for the West Chiltington Action Group. The significant number of people that are just quietly rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in to this project of helping our community, with no need of praise or thanks, is humbling. This note is both praise and thanks to all.
West Chiltington and Nutbourne Action Group
Community in Action