Shropshire towns and parishes come together
In these difficult times, one of the things we can all take comfort from is the incredible support that can be seen throughout communities across the country.
As we all try to adapt to new ways of working, living, connecting and sharing, Right Home, Right Place asked the parishes and towns across Shropshire about how they’re helping to support residents through the crisis.
The activities taking place from the north to the south of the county are hugely inspiring, and we’re incredibly proud of the work these towns and parishes are doing.
Scroll through our pictures below to find out what’s happening in each area:
Montford parish are slowly expanding their public Watchers List, so that vulnerable people know who’s willing to help them and how they can be contacted.
Many of their 20 Watch Area Leaders have set up their own local WhatsApp groups or are using existing groups, all of which are proving to be very effective in keeping residents up to date.
Meanwhile, Montford Parish Council are encouraging parishioners to contact the Parish Office if they have any ideas for pandemic support measures, or if they themselves need support.
CHURCH STRETTON TOWN COUNCIL
From the middle of March, Church Stretton’s Town Mayor, Councillor Bob Welch, has chaired a weekly phone conference to identify more collaborative working throughout the crisis.
The conferences bring together representatives from Shropshire Council, the Town Council, the Medical Practice, Mayfair, Good Neighbours, the local Co-op, the local Shopping Service, St. Laurence Church/Food Bank, Rotary, Round Table, local pharmacies, the Chamber of Trade and the local police.
Church Stretton’s Good Neighbour drivers have been delivering meals to self-isolating elderly residents, while the local community has generously supported Church Stretton’s Food Bank, which has been able to build-buy from the local Co-op.
The National Trust was unable to hold its Easter Egg Hunt in Cardingmill Valley, so donated the Easter Eggs to the Food Bank, which gave them to the local Women’s Refuge and two local nursing homes, where they were much appreciated.
Mayfair Community Centre has provided the focal point for the community’s response, recruiting over a hundred volunteers to help the local Co-op make 25 deliveries a day. These volunteers have also assisted a consortium of local shops and a local shopping service to expand their home deliveries to surrounding villages, making 35 deliveries a day.
The Centre also identified 150 vulnerable residents and trained up volunteers to give phone support, especially for those totally reliant on a phone, to counter potential mental health problems.
Meanwhile, members of different denominations from Churches Together have joined each night for a shared act of prayer in their homes, offering Sunday Services online, and an online Night Prayer with Stretton Taize each night at 8pm via www.strettontaize.org.uk.
Councillor Bob Welch said: “This typifies the sense of togetherness which is currently sustaining our community.”
In Morda, Parish Councillor Les Maguire has been helping Oswestry Angels to deliver much-needed PPE to the two care homes in the area, as well as care homes in and around Oswestry.
A colleague from Oswestry Angels has also delivered food parcels to the Woodland Care Home in Morda.
They’re currently averaging 15 to 20 deliveries daily, delivering to residents across Morda and the wider Oswestry area who are self-isolating and unable to get to the pharmacy.
Les is also involved with a project to make washable cotton double-layered face masks. He says: “As this pandemic gets worse, more will need to be done, but I’m ready to help wherever I can.”
In Albrighton, a group of volunteers headed by Councillor Mandy Medlyn have been using their council minibus, The Albrighton Flyer, to deliver food to residents.
The deliveries include cooked meals each Wednesday, as well as medicines to those in the parish who are elderly, isolated and vulnerable.
Hadnall Parish Council have put together a list of ‘Help in Hadnall’ volunteers, which is being distributed by residents Donna Harris and Astrid Lynch to those in self isolation who need support.
A group of local volunteers have also providing a Tuesday prescription delivery service, collecting prescriptions from Clive Surgery and delivering them to residents where needed.
Sue, Harmish and the team at Hadnall Village Stores are keeping their shelves stocked high and continuing to deliver groceries to vulnerable or isolated residents across the village.
Local resident Julie Fox has created and distributed beautifully painted stones throughout the parish for children to hunt for and take home, each disinfected and with washing instructions. Julie also sent a painted stone to Major Tom in recognition for his fantastic fundraising efforts.
ELLESMERE TOWN COUNCIL
Ellesmere Town Council developed a plan early on in the pandemic to support vulnerable residents with accessing essential items. They quickly established a Local Community Support Group of volunteers of those who were able to help, and distributed flyers to every household in Ellesmere.
Each volunteer took part in a registration process and were issued with ID badges and best practice guides. Currently, 57 volunteers are supporting over 70 self-isolating and vulnerable people requiring support.
Meanwhile, local newsagents have been taking orders over the phone and delivering around the area at no cost. Our Town Clerk, Jo, agreed with Mandy, the Community Champion at the local Co-op store, to deliver the same service.
Nicky Stokes, from Ellesmere Chamber of Commerce, has also created a list of all businesses within the town and what services they could offer.
This list continues to be updated daily and added to the town’s specially created web page and a Facebook page. The pages also feature contributions from local residents, including a Daily Armchair Exercise video for those unable to exercise outside and links to online services held by The Cellar Church.
Another volunteer has made and distributed masks and laundry bags for care workers, while Ellesmere College are making face shields for the NHS and Lakeside Coaches are providing valuable transport solutions for businesses and residents.
The Ellesmere Carnival Committee also donated Easter eggs to all residents on the town’s self-isolating register, while one local resident even dressed up as Dipsy to spread some well-received, socially-distanced cheer!
Ellesmere Town Council commented that: “Whilst this is a difficult time for many, we’ve seen the whole community pull together to support each other and the people in need. The feedback that’s been received from residents has all been lovely and very positive.”
The group is being hosted by Worthen Medical Practise and is offering support to residents who require shopping, prescriptions, signposting or someone to talk to.
The group is also providing a food bank for these areas, kindly supported by local businesses and Tesco supermarket in Welshpool, and are currently distributing around nine boxes each day.
Councillor Ed Potter and Councillor Heather Kidd have been working alongside group members and volunteers, led by Worthen Village Hall Chairman, Jon Newsom, to support all parts of these parishes and neighbouring villages if required, as well as talking to other Covid Aid groups nearby.
BELLE VIEW, SHREWSBURY
From Shrewsbury, Councillor for the Belle Vue Ward, Kate Halliday sent us this video of what’s been happening in her area.
BISHOPS CASTLE TOWN COUNCIL
In Bishop’s Castle, local volunteers and the Town Council have established a SW Shropshire Community Support Network which covers the area supported by the medical practice and the community college.
This includes a shopping service, collecting and delivering prescriptions, a call-and-chat telephone service and a newly established food bank, which started on the 9th April.
The food bank operates on Mondays and Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm at the Methodist Hall in Station Street. Volunteers are also needed at present to help run the food bank. Those who are able to help, or who require support from the food bank, are asked to contact Andy Stelman on 07773 006413.
If they are able to volunteer, or need support with shopping, prescription collections or other tasks, residents are encouraged to contact the Town Clerk on 01588 638141, or to email Councillor Ruth Houghton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, the Bishop’s Castle Events & Community Support Facebook page has regular updates and includes the list of shops and services that are open or making deliveries.
If you’re part of a parish or town council and would like us to include the latest community support activities in your area, do get in touch with us through our contact section – we’d love to hear from you!
Shropshire Council has launched a dedicated helpline during the coronavirus pandemic to help those who are vulnerable and in need of help.
If you are in need of coronavirus-related support or know someone who does, please call 0345 678 9028. The line is available from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-1pm Saturdays.
For more information, see this press release.