Coronavirus: 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 town councils and parish councils 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 to find out what’s happening in each area:
In Montford, parish councillors have set up a Parish Watch system to support vulnerable residents in self isolation. 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 encourage and identify more collaborative working throughout the crisis.
The conferences bring together representatives from Shropshire Council, Church Stretton 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 bulk-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 100 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 Personal Protective Equipment (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.
Meanwhile, Cambrian Rotary Club, which Les runs, has been delivering prescriptions every day from Old Chapel Pharmacy in Oswestry, alongside the pharmacy’s staff.
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 said:
“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 ‘Captain Tom’ (Moore) 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. The 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 webpage 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.”
Shropshire Council community helpline
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.
Keep informed and sign up to our daily coronavirus email updates
Shropshire Council wants to keep you as up to date and informed as possible. To help us do this, we have developed a coronavirus update that will be sent daily at 8pm via email to anyone who has signed up to our e-bulletins.
This update includes the day’s key Shropshire Council news, and some key news from our partners, relating to coronavirus-linked issues. Please click here to sign up for the updates.
Please do encourage your family and friends to sign up to the updates too. This will help us keep everyone up to date with the rapidly-evolving crisis.