Ten Northamptonshire groups have been recognised for their hard work during the pandemic in feeding people and helping each other survive.
Northamptonshire Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) has published a booklet of ‘Covid-19 community champions’.
There are 76 groups across the county recognised in the booklet, in a number of different categories.
All those nominated will be invited to join a virtual celebration next week.
Elaine O’Leary, chief executive of Northamptonshire ACRE said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the number of entries submitted and the quality and range of support these volunteers are providing to the most vulnerable people in their community.
“With everything that has happened over the past few months, we think it is important to showcase and celebrate the fantastic work going on in Northamptonshire.”
Here are the ten groups that were nominated for the ‘helping people to survive the pandemic’ category and more information about the work they have done.
5. Far Cotton and Delapre Community Support Group
Just four volunteers began the Far Cotton and Delapre Community Support Group, but it swiftly grew to over 80 volunteers and the Facebook Group has over 1100 local members. In addition to shopping, prescription support and befriending, the group provided 135 hot meals a day to local school children, as well as delivering 60 boxes of food weekly together with top ups for gas and electricity for those in need.
Anyone with an emergency was also given top up supplies so that no one went without.
6. Irthlingborough Food Bank
The established foodbank was incredibly generously supported and fed families in need, giving out as many parcels during the first lockdown as they normally do in a year. The excess food supplies went to the local Café 25, where Jim and his team provided takeaways and free meals for the vulnerable, plus an additional ‘help yourself’ table for anyone who needed it.
Shopping and prescription support came from a quickly established Covid-19 group, and a cohort of individuals went the extra mile to provide safe contact for the isolated feeling the effects of loneliness. Faith leaders ‘went virtual’ with services and opportunities for social interaction as often as possible, and phone contact for those who weren’t ‘on the computer’.
7. Roade Community Food Larder
At the beginning of the pandemic Roade’s Parish council sent a letter to all households, requesting volunteers, and details of the phone number and email address for help requests.
The pool of volunteers was quickly established, however the demand for help took more time to evolve – across the county, many groups found there was often an unwillingness to admit
dire straits. As requests came in, the Parish Council was in a position to understand the need, and allocated the task to the volunteers, the community larder or to a local charity for
additional support as appropriate.
8. Brackley Food Bank
Brackley Food Bank was established more than 10 years ago, however many of their volunteers had to self-isolate at the start of the first lockdown so a campaign to recruit was quickly launched.
12 new drivers came forward to collect donations and deliver the food parcels, saving the day.
Brackley’s residents were so generous in their support, a local catering company offered extra storage space to enable the increased efforts.
ACRE says: “Overall, the community’s response during this time of crisis has been ‘epic’, so thank-you!”