Thornton Community Volunteers
Meeting 10.30am Friday 20th March 2020
As the result of an appeal for volunteers on www.nextdoor.co.uk
Fourteen residents from Thornton held an outdoor meeting at the rear of the Bricklayer Arms to discuss ideas for offering support and help to their fellow residents ‘self-isolating’.
Many more who were unable to attend, came forward ‘online’ to offer help and support.
Those in attendance: Ben Markie (landlord), Liz Mitchell (co-ordinator), Gill Tapping (co-ordinator), Alexia Swirkowski (Graphic Designer with printer), Paula Smith, Helen Robinson, Dave Robinson, Paul Lazarus, Jeremy Goodman, Steph Houghton, Penny Nugent, John True, Siobhan Darby, Paul Muller
- How could we give practical help and support to our ‘at risk’ and ‘self-isolating’ neighbours?
- Two prime concerns – to provide help with obtaining groceries and mental well-being.
- Grocery shopping – Raj, at Norm’s corner shop has been consulted and will help in any way possible, delivering if necessary and keeping some goods on one side for regular shoppers from the village. To alleviate the pressure on him perhaps our volunteers could take orders to the shop, collect and deliver. However, he cannot supply much in the way of meat, vegetables, salad, fruit. So, we need the co-operation of a larger supermarket – and we now have that.
- We must bear in mind that Raj would be ‘overwhelmed’ if the whole of the village shopped there; he would end up spending half his day at the cash and carry. We also need to ensure his well-being too and offer voluntary help whenever he needs it.
- Raj & Angie now wearing face masks in the shop.
- Shop opening times have reduced to Mon – Sat 8am – 6pm, Sun 8am – 1pm.
- I have contacted the Retail Director of Central England Co-operative, Paul Dennis. He has been incredibly helpful; I explained the difficulties we are having purchasing goods for others now that rationing has been introduced, and the abuse both their staff and some customers are receiving.
- Initially his staff have produced cards that we can print off to hand to neighbours and also take to the Co-op stores as proof you are shopping for others. See below.
- My initial comments regarding the cards were that they had a black background. Black edged cards were given to people to prepare them for news that a ‘loved one’ had died (not a good look at this time). I have suggested it would perhaps be better to use the Co-Op green. Also, the font needs to be sharper for ‘aged’ eyes. A further suggestion was that we could ‘personalise’ the rear of the card with local information to hopefully allay fears that these cards are a scam. Alexia has offered to print our own personalised version of these cards with the following included on the back: –
- Is there any other way we can help you? E.G. Dog walking. Collect prescriptions. Purchase online items?
- Other points of contact are: –
- Dedicated response email – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Church parish office is acting as the hub. Telephone number 0116 2393768 – staffed 9am x 5pm Mon to Fri
- Or Contact Helen Crouch on 07947 590241 from 9am to 8.30pm
- Hinckley & Bosworth – http://www.hinckley-bosworth.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Village website – www.thorntonvillage.org
- Facebook – search for Thornton Village Residents
- Thornton/Bagworth Community website – www.nextdoor.co.uk
- Friends of St Peter’s Church – www.friendsofstpeters.yolasite.com
- St Peter’s Church – www.j22churches.org/thornton
- Paul Dennis suggested that we should use the Anstey Co-Op as this is the largest in the area and most likely to have stock. The Co-Op distribution centre is in Leicester so this Co-Op can be re-stocked fairly quickly. He has given me the manager’s contact email at the Anstey Co-Op.
- By Friday night Paul had come forward with another initiative – extract from his email – “We are looking at putting a picking option and ordering option through a provider into Anstey for you. This would mean that the bags would be ready for you to just collect and deliver and our vulnerable customer a would select from a list of around 100 lines”. The quickness of this response depends on how quickly they can recruit more staff. He said they have sold 40% more stock this week than over the Xmas period with 40% less items available and 40% less staff. Co Op staff from other departments like travel are being drafted in as shelf stackers for example. The Co Op are asking manufacturers like Warburtons to cut down on the lines of bread produced to concentrate on the basics. These are just two of the things we discussed.
- Method of payment – the church has a charitable fund that could be utilised for initial payments to shops. This needs more thought, but we could use the church account for payments then the recipients of the goods (who may not have been able to get to a cash point) could write a cheque for payment to the church account (or BACS transfer). This would simplify things.
- A further suggestion that I have made to Mr Dennis is that they consider having hand sanitising gel dispensers outside their stores together with latex glove dispensers (which most garages have); a major concern is handling baskets and trolleys. Perhaps Raj would also consider taking this step. There are a lot of visitors who are coming to the reservoir and calling at the shop, we are at risk from them.
- Prescriptions – Jeremy has spoken to Masons chemist who suggest one collective pick up a week. Verbal or electronic permission would need to be obtained. (We have their email address for personal contact). Giving the names and address of those we are collecting and confirming we have permission to do so. Once set up it will just repeat. Unfortunately, whoever is collecting still needs to sign for all the prescriptions. However, if replicated on all the villages it will greatly reduce the pressure on the chemist and the number of contacts.
- Families/individuals suffering hardship – Jeremy suggested the possibility of asking for a weekly donation of £5/£10 (max £20) from villagers with secure income. This could go through the church bank account which is set up for charity giving. We may even be able to get gift aid. This can be distributed as credit through the shop. Possibly the shop could service regular orders of the basics.
- How do we identify those at risk? – It was suggested that (posties) Maureen & Angeline may be able to help with this and perhaps local council would be aware of the most vulnerable.
- St Peter’s church will be open from 10 until 12 each Sunday morning for private thoughts, prayer and calm. Everyone will be welcome. Government hygiene and social distancing will need to be adhered to, but there is plenty of space in the church for this. The church is accessible to all at any time that the Corner shop is open – they have the keys; you just need to ask for them. If any one feels they would like to talk to us, or would like prayer, please contact Gill Maynard..
- Fish and Chips or Other Takeaway – Ben at the Bricklayers is looking into the possibility of providing a takeaway service. Gill has contact details of a fish & chip van service that can be approached with a view to coming to the village once a week. Could we also ‘bulk’ order from local Chinese/Indian takeaways for home delivery?
- Books are available at the Community Centre. An appeal for jigsaws/magazines/DVD’s may be helpful to supplement the books. Access to the hall can easily be arranged (several of us have the keycode).
- Use of the Internet – I can create a separate page on the village website to collate information/useful contacts etc. e.g. businesses offering delivery services etc. Whilst Nextdoor is an extremely useful way of contacting each other information gets lost in the ‘threads’, likewise not everyone is on or wishes to join Facebook.
- Blogs – Can we create a page where we can ‘blog’ ideas, quizzes, anything for keeping ourselves amused and occupied? Anyone out there cleverer than I am that could set something up?
- WhatsApp – are all or most of our volunteers on WhatsApp? – the easiest, quickest and most responsive way of keeping in touch.
- Exercise – we talked about allowing the children to play table tennis in the hall but agreed any indoor activity would not be a good idea. We also discussed introducing timed walks around the reservoir with ‘social distancing’, however, judging by the cars in the village on Saturday – many ‘outsiders’ are using this facility, rendering the reservoir ‘unsafe’. Bagworth Heath or Ratby Burroughs may be a better local option, wider, more open spaces and always less busy.
- Refuse Collection – The council has suspended its garden waste collection service for at least two weeks. There will be no garden waste (brown lidded bin) collections from Monday 23 March for at least two weeks as a result of severe staff shortages resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Refuse (black bin) and recycling (blue lidded bin) collections will continue as normal and are unaffected by this change.
- Finally, the night before the meeting we all received a leaflet from Bagworth/Thornton Coronavirus Community Response – which those at the meeting found incredibly difficult to read and disseminate, others from Groby and Ratby agreed.
Not wishing to ‘tread on anyone’s toes’ Liz contacted the organiser Helen Crouch – this is the response she received …….
“Personally I think bulk buying needs the local shop involved as you will kill his trade and also Bagworth uses coop products in his shop A decent veg hub would be handy with a delivery service but again I think the shops should be involved Regards branching off it would be better to carry on with main coordination and all volunteers come through what we have set up so both villages work together as a team so we have a larger bank of the volunteers and a stronger support with stronger skill sets, this doesn’t mean we can’t expand on the support team ie coordination to support me and the hub based in ratby. I’m having to report happenings too hence why we set it up like we did So we could sort an umbrella but it does need to come via this system Start splitting up you will also get Bagworth back up and loose there skill set etc this is a key time to keep both villages working together as they should always some tend to forget this At present we are working on a first aid response team for both villages based in Bagworth community centre and in both villages as moving forward we feel we are going to need it People have the contact details now and will and should feed through this”
Liz and I both agree that by all means use their centralised ‘hub’, and dedicated email and telephone details, but that we have more than sufficient volunteers to look after our own village, thus ‘freeing up’ their volunteers to concentrate on Bagworth, Ratby and Groby.
IF YOU NEED HELP DON’T HESITATE – WE HAVE MANY VOLUNTEERS THROUGHOUT THE VILLAGE WHO ARE THERE FOR YOU – ALTHOUGH IT FEELS LIKE IT, YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR OWN.
SIGN UP TO WWW.NEXTDOOR.CO.UK and join the Thornton Community Group. We can use this forum to organise ourselves to purchase group takeaway orders, DIY & gardening items, etc. Arrange to get books etc from the Community Centre to you.
Alexia is busy working on a personalised card based on this one from the Co-op; the reverse will contain information on the Central Hub contact details at Ratby and information relevant to Thornton e.g. our local websites.