This week Lesley Smetham, Councillor for Gawsworth Ward, describes the amazing schemes that have sprung up in her rural area, where local people have quickly joined together to ensure that residents are supported in these unprecedented times.
The Gawsworth Ward is blessed with a number of proactive parish councils (Eaton, Marton & Siddington, Hulme Wakefield, Somerford Booths, Swettenham and Kermincham in neighbouring Brereton Ward). The Chairs of these parishes together with the Head Teacher and Chair of Governors of Marton School and the Revd Ian Arch (incumbent of the five parish churches) have worked collectively to develop and implement their COVID-19 Community Care Group!
They have produced an explanatory leaflet and created a whatsapp phone group. Further groups of volunteers in each area have been mobilised to assist residents to access basic necessities, pastoral care and information.
Bosley Parish has set up a similar ‘core group’ of volunteers, with others on ‘standby’ should additional help be required. All are connected via a dedicated WhatsApp group. Volunteers have been provided with a ‘Code of Conduct’ to assist them in acting professionally and lawfully, whist leaflets advertising the ‘service’ have already been distributed to all Bosley residents.
In Gawsworth, the new Rector Colin Wilson and his wife Rachel, along with the Gawsworth Community Village Shop Hub are co-ordinating volunteers to deliver their information leaflet; first to those in properties for the elderly and disabled, then to the remainder of the core village area. The church, chapel and WI have also originated cascade groups offering vital support to residents. The Parish Council is co-ordinating and providing information across the whole area.
Henbury Parish Council and Henbury Society along with Henbury online are supporting residents by similar means; emails, website and of course word of mouth. The core team asked for those requiring assistance to register with Henbury online. Volunteers were also requested to register what assistance they may be able to provide. The village was split into five areas, with a lead person in each area, who has contacted the households in their zone, and who will endeavour to meet their shopping requirements or other essential needs. In the event of the lead person either being taken into isolation or overwhelmed, a secondary person also covers the zone. Coloured cards were also distributed to put in windows to signify certain needs. The group will review these initiatives on an ongoing basis depending on how the situation develops over the coming weeks.
North Rode is a small parish that is linked with Gawsworth under one benefice. They are in contact with their residents by phone and email. They are lucky to have the proprietor of a pharmacy living in the parish who will arrange delivery from his business.
Lower Withington parish is as pro-active as always with leaflet drop and website information for their residents.
All Incumbents, parishes, local organisations are knowledgeable about their areas and residents are lucky to have our farmers too who provide us with supplies, such as eggs, meat, milk, potatoes and other items. In addition, there are many random acts of kindness where neighbours collect extra items of shopping or just a daily newspaper.
Lesley is assisting with contacts and information for these truly phenomenal achievements on behalf of amazing communities who are selflessly committed to each other.
If you live in any of the Gawsworth parishes and require support, Lesley can put you in touch with the support nearest to you.
Phone: 01625 426173