The Warwick and Leamington Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group - one year on

Last year various groups were set up across the country to help people including the Warwick and Leamington Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 6:31 am

March marks a year since the first lockdown in the UK due to the pandemic.

Last year various groups were set up across the country to help people including the Warwick and Leamington Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group.

When Warwick and Leamington’s Covid-19 Support Group volunteers were presented with a Special Recognition Award from MP Matt Western at his recent 2020 Community Excellence Awards, it is safe to say that not one of them would have thought, way back in March last year, that they would be continuing to make such a significant contribution some 12 months later.

Rebecca McDougall with the Special Recognition Award 2020. Photo supplied

Over that time, the Group’s coordinators have streamlined services so that hundreds of vulnerable residents have been able to access essential deliveries of food and medication while shielding or quarantining.

Meanwhile, the Phone Pals team has made thousands of calls (nearly 5,000 to date) to lonely and socially isolated people throughout the district.

A listening ear and a friendly voice have made all the difference to those living alone, particularly at this challenging time.

The Group now boasts more than 7,000 Facebook followers.

Not only is the Group’s page a hugely important communications tool in terms of receiving and sharing important information, it also supports other organisations, offers advice and, just as importantly, provides fun and entertainment.

Rebecca McDougall, one of the Group’s Facebook admins, said: “What we’ve discovered over the last 12 months is that this is a truly wonderful community.

"All we have done is to coordinate, facilitate and enable what was already there and allow these wonderful people – our hero volunteers – to shine a light in their respective neighbourhoods and to go about their amazing work.”

There is currently no intention for the Group to down tools and a small team, including Leamington-based Phil Deakin, are currently working on streamlining the organisation to ensure its continued relevance and success going forward.

Phil said: “We will continue to deliver practical and emotional support to isolated people across the district by engaging local volunteers, and fostering community spirit.

"Exactly what we deliver over the next 12 months will change as lockdown eases, and increasing numbers of people are vaccinated.”

For more information about the group go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/warwickleamingtoncovidhelp