The Haymill Support group was set up, in early March, with the aim of neighbours helping each other and working together to help people who may need assistance during the Covid-19 crisis. It started with a team of fifteen volunteers and there are now eighty volunteers who have made made 600 friendly phones calls and fulfilled 150 requests for food shopping and medicine pick-ups.
Vineet Vijh, group leader said, “The group started by providing basic requests for shopping and prescription pick-ups for vulnerable, people who were self-isolating and therefore, unable to leave their homes. We also assisted local charities, collecting food and donations for the food bank and making hand sanitisers and face masks, at home, for volunteers working in the front line.
“One of the critical needs during the crisis was the personal protective equipment required by the NHS. Not many of our volunteers had any extensive knowledge of skill at sewing, but everyone was happy to have a go to make Scrubs. To date, the group has produced 80 Scrubs for NHS staff and care homes and 400 face masks for volunteers, key workers and schools.
The group also made “snacks and treats” for the Community Kitchen, which was distributing food packages to over 400 homeless or vulnerable people in the area. Twice a week 10-15 volunteers baked or cooked cakes, cookies and a variety of savoury treats to be added to the food packages. The food items were also supplied to NHS lounges which were set-up and run by the furloughed airline staff to treat overworked NHS staff.
We are now preparing to start new initiatives to help with the longer term economic and emotional consequences of the pandemic.”