Apologies for the long period of silence . I should have sent an update weeks ago, but it seems that whilst some areas of our work have calmed down, others have seriously ramped up!
The Helpline continues to provide a very responsive service and are still passing on messages and new requests on a daily basis, albeit there seem to be far less direct calls now. That doesn’t diminish what Tim and Carolyn are doing; it is still key to our Group, so thank you both for continuing.
Similarly, the Pastoral Care Team have started to wind down a bit as people gain a little more confidence to venture out and accept visitors – still at a distance of course. However, for the people still being contacted, this still provides a lifeline. By no means are we yet out of the woods and there are still many people very reluctant to change the situation yet and commit to any form of socialising.
The Pharmacy continues to provide deliveries through volunteers. The numbers are slightly less but also less frantic as people are able to plan their requirements. However, total deliveries by pharmacy team in April 360 by volunteers were 203; total deliveries to Shielded patients 23. Well done to all.
Shopping – Since Helen’s last update in April the demand for shopping has almost halved. We were doing ten shops per week then but now this has reduced to an average of five. With six experienced volunteers allocated to the shopping hub this has meant that we haven’t had to call upon the extra volunteers to help out. It has also meant that the six original shoppers are doing no more than one shop per week.
Now for some stats. I can hear the groans from here but she does like her numbers – sorry!!
The total number of customers on our books to date is 31 of which 26 have had some shopping done for them. We have six regulars for whom we shop most weeks and whenever possible it is the same shopper who helps them every week. Since we set up this service we have carried out 70 shops with a total value of approximately £1,500.
Helen has reported that the shopping hub is running very smoothly and efficiently (of course it is). For the shoppers who haven’t heard from her for a little while, she’s not ignoring you there just isn’t the demand for our help that we anticipated. All the same, thank you all very much for your willingness in making it work.
The areas which seem to have become more busy are Meals on Wheels and food bank. This is not surprising really because this has gone on for a very long time. We
are now supplying more than 80 meals a week; 7 days a week. The most in one day so far has been 17, and the least, 8. The list of likes/dislikes and complaints is of course going up accordingly, but it really is a case of not being able to please all the people all the time. And mainly, people are very complimentary, especially about the puddings.
Similarly, foodbank requirements go up and down. Whilst we have only a handful of people in both Villages who have asked for help with food, we do also have some households where people have been given temporary housing locally whilst Social Services look for somewhere permanent for them to live. HMG apparently decided to ensure that there were no more rough sleepers but there are others who needed help too. So, in conjunction with Windsor Homeless, we are providing food to these people 3 times a week. The good news is that already we know of 4 of who have been found new housing. This has included two women who were victims of domestic abuse, one of whom had a 5-day old baby.
On the Finance side of things, we have also been quite successful and have received a number of donations and grants to help with our costs. I believe our bank balance is quite healthy, so thanks are due to all our benefactors.
The Volunteers hub which Dianne continues to run very efficiently has still got a high number of people who haven’t been able to help yet. We are hoping though that some of these will still be keen to offer their services once furloughing has stopped. It is certain that we will still have a need for helpers in most of the hubs, particularly delivery drivers and transport for medical appointments etc.
Media – Carly has been doing a grand job with the Facebook site. All requests for food and clothes seem to miraculously appear at the drop of a hat and of course Henry is still providing his weekly video for Coffee morning along with radio interviews for Swan Radio.
Many , many thanks to everyone who is still working hard to make our initiative such a success. I have received numerous cards and thanks from people who are relying on us, and I suspect they will continue to do so for some time yet.