Volunteers thanked for incredible efforts to help the people of Wellingborough during pandemic
The One Wellingborough Project has supported hundreds of people with thousands of tasks during the past year
A group of volunteers have been praised for carrying out thousands of tasks to help others during the Covid crisis.
The One Wellingborough Project was launched last April as a partnership between Glamis Hall and the Victoria Centre.
Funded by Wellingborough Council, it was set up to help anyone who was vulnerable, shielding or isolated during the pandemic.
Referrals came from sources including the Covid-19 response team at Northants County Council, Wellingborough Council, Daylight Centre, Age UK, schools and self-referrals.
And in the past 12 months, hundreds of people have been helped and more than 8,000 support tasks carried out, including shopping trips, collecting prescriptions and providing meals.
But none of this would have been possible without the volunteers who stepped up to help.
Project lead Jo Peploe from Glamis Hall told the Northants Telegraph: "We have had about 30 volunteers as well as our staff, with some volunteers and staff from the Victoria Centre as well.
"We were very lucky with the amount of people that came forward and were able to help.
"It wouldn't have worked without the volunteer support, it meant we could do more.
"People from all across Wellingborough came forward."
As well as physical forms of help such as shopping, volunteers have carried out welfare checks and been at the end of the phone if needed - a service which has proved invaluable for many.
Jo said: "We've had lots of thank yous, people saying they don't know how they would have coped if we hadn't helped them.
"We have helped in not just a physical way but in a mental way, and we have made some good friends with the people we have helped.
"The volunteers have been amazing.
"We couldn't have done it without them because there's been so much support needed."
The volunteers came from all walks of life and for various reasons, including being furloughed, having more flexibility with working from home and those just looking to help others.
Among the volunteers was Kai, a student at Isebrook School, Kettering, who has been volunteering on placement two days a week during Covid with his support worker Richard.
Now that the One Wellingborough Project has finished, he is volunteering in the day centre and on the shopping service.
Jo has described all the volunteers as 'an absolute Godsend' and added: "This is thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers and the people of Wellingborough and surrounding areas for supporting us."
While it has been a hugely worthwhile project, Jo said it has also been hard, especially seeing the tough situations people have found themselves in due to Covid.
She said: "Some people have really tugged at our heartstrings and become firm friends because we have seen a change in them, we were there as an extra layer of support.
"Nobody out there should be struggling.
"I think people have become more aware of their community in the pandemic and by people having the extra time to do volunteering, people have realised there are people out there that they didn't know about or didn't realise they needed support.
"I think it's opened everybody's eyes.
"If we can all help each other out a bit like we have done in the last year, we will keep the community spirit."
Jo said it has been a good partnership with the Victoria Centre as both organisations 'work for the people of Wellingborough.'
And she added: "When we started the charity of Glamis Hall, we set it up to help the people of Wellingborough and the last 12 months, although we have provided a completely different service to what we set out to do, we found another way to do it and another way of supporting the community.
"Alongside supporting the people of Wellingborough, we have still been able to support some of the centre clients.
"Just knowing we were on the end of the phone has hopefully been a comfort to people.
"We have been very lucky with the volunteers that have come forward and willing to keep coming back.
"They have put themselves at risk by going into the supermarkets and the pharmacies, but they have all been given PPE.
"We couldn't have done it without you, you are all amazing.
"It's been different but worthwhile and I'm so glad we were able to be here to support people with anything that they needed."
And the success of the past 12 months has taken Jo back to when Wellingborough Council agreed to transfer the building on the Queensway estate over to them six years ago.
Back in 2014, Wellingborough Council decided to close Glamis Hall as they felt it was no longer fit for purpose, and running the discretionary day care service was unaffordable and not properly meeting clients’ needs.
Campaigners gathered a 10,000 signature petition opposing the closure and, after weeks of talks with the council, the Glamis Hall for All group presented a business plan explaining how they could run the building as a community hub if it was transferred to them.
Without their successful campaign back then to keep the hall open, none of this would have been possible to help those in need during the current Covid crisis.
For more information on the One Wellingborough Project, click here.