48 community groups and 499 volunteers have registered so far through the RBWM Community Hub to provide support to vulnerable residents during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Community Hub was set up in March, providing a space for groups to register their support, residents and councillors to get involved as a volunteer or those in need to request help during this time.
The community groups cover all corners of the Royal Borough, and offer a wide range of support to residents, including grocery shopping, prescription delivery, social support via telephone and more.
Cllr Rayner, lead member for resident and leisure services, HR, IT, legal, performance management and Windsor, said: “In these unprecedented times we have seen unwavering kindness and willingness to help in so many of our residents and staff.
“The Community Hub has served its purpose perfectly and allowed groups to find volunteers and those in need to find the support available to them.
“It’s very touching in these difficult times that we are all pulling together as a strong community that cares and supports one another.
“On behalf of the Royal Borough, thank you to each and every person who has volunteered through a community group, staff who have made calls to hundreds of residents and anyone who has gone out of their way to make someone’s life easier during these difficult times.”
Royal Borough staff have been getting involved too, making phone calls to those on the shielded list and ensuring they have the support they need while in isolation for 12 weeks.
At the beginning of April, the team of staff volunteers made 800 calls to vulnerable residents in just nine working days.
One of those calls was to Chrissie Boyd, who is shielding for 12 weeks. She said: “I received a call from the council to check I was ok as I am on the Government’s shielded list. I was really surprised to get a call but it was lovely to talk to Shilpa, one of the council officers, and have a chat about how I was keeping.
“She checked that I had enough food and medicine during the period and if there was anyone else that could help me. I just thought it was brilliant and I really didn’t expect the council to be doing that but I was really touched and grateful.
“It is lovely that everyone has pulled together, people in my street have put notes through each other’s doors to check they are ok, I hope the community spirit remains when this is over.”
There are many more groups across the borough helping our communities and we encourage them to register at our community hub.
We also spoke to three community groups who have been working hard to help, to see what they had to say:
Jane Dawson, Old Windsor Parish Hub
Working from the office of our Parish Hub, the parish council are providing the structure and organisation required for our volunteers to help those in need. This includes shopping, a friendly phone call, supporting our busy pharmacy by delivering prescriptions and we even have a volunteer coordinating pet care.
In March we carried out a village wide leaflet drop giving residents the opportunity to sign up for support. Recruitment of volunteers was through the RBWM Community Hub, as well as our long established and trusted Facebook page and word of mouth. We then assigned our volunteers to residents who had requested help. We provided the volunteers with lanyards, guidance notes, gloves and hand sanitiser. Thanks to our wonderful volunteers by the start of the lock down we were already up and running.
As well as volunteering some villagers have contributed food, cleaning products and PPE. One young man actually used some of his inheritance to purchase a significant quantity of face masks for distribution throughout the village.
We are currently supporting 75 residents and have 70 + volunteers and we aim to keep going for as long as is needed.
Helen Goodwin, Ascot Hub
Sunninghill and Ascot Parish Council, working alongside its Borough Councillors, a number of churches and local charitable trusts, has established a Support Hub for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
The Hub is providing a helping hand for many people in the area and it has been amazing to see the community come together in such an inspiring way.
The parish council’s partner charities such as The Hope Trust, The Sunninghill Trust and the Fire Brigade Trust have been able to help a host of different people, from assistance with debt issues for families who are concerned with their finances, to ensuring vulnerable elderly people have hot meals delivered. They have been able to provide financial help to the Ascot Day Centre, Windsor Homeless Project and more.
The Hub has also been able to put the great team at Ascot Racecourse in touch with the Windsor Homeless Project, where they are now providing much needed food supplies.
The local churches have already been able to help a number of local vulnerable families with food parcels raised by the community, alongside their befriending and support services.
Our team of volunteers are running errands, telephoning those in need and flagging up more serious issues – they are doing an incredibly valuable job in helping the most vulnerable to stay well.
The Parish Council wishes to thank all those who have volunteered to assist with the Hub - it’s wonderful to know what great community spirit and enterprise exists in time of need.
Sally Lynch, St Luke’s Church, Belmont
Here at St. Luke’s church, alongside the practical shopping and telephone calls to stay in touch (especially with those who have no internet), we have been supporting our congregation and other members of our parish by offering a whole range of worship opportunities on our website and a live Zoom Morning Prayer at 9am Tuesday to Saturday.
We also offer a friendly listening ear on the end of the phone for those who are lonely, bereaved or feeling under pressure during lock-down.
We are very aware of the pressure on people’s mental health and also the big questions that bereavement and illness raises.