Vulnerable individuals in Cotgrave will be able to receive the essentials they need whilst in self-isolation thanks to an initiative developed in a matter of days by the Trent Bridge Community Trust.
In partnership with Rushcliffe CVS, the Trust have formed the Cotgrave Community Response project in light of the coronavirus pandemic, recruiting in excess of 60 volunteers to deliver food, medication and other vital supplies to those in need.
The project is being overseen by Michelle Mark, the Trust’s Cotgrave Community Engagement Worker.
“We first came up with the idea just a few weeks ago,” she explained.
“It seems strange to think it now, but coronavirus wasn’t as big an issue then as it is now. We still knew, though, that there would be people in self-isolation who would need help.
“Originally, the plan was for me to help out on my own, but Mark Clifford (the Trust’s Community Projects Manager) and Cotgrave Town Council gave me some support, and it’s snowballed from there.”
As the scale of the epidemic in the UK continued to increase, Michelle sought further help from local agencies such as shops, chemists, churches, Cotgrave Library and the local advice centre, together with a call to arms across the local the community. She found an army of volunteers desperate to play their part.
“I’d already seen so many people on social media saying that they wanted to help, so the desire was clearly there,” continued Michelle.
“We were concerned that people might put themselves at risk if they got involved without taking any precautions – maybe they wouldn’t have the right checks in place or they’d handle some money and inadvertently pass the virus on. So we developed a plan, and people have responded really well.”
"It’s important to do whatever we can to stop the fear that people may be experiencing."
The Cotgrave Community Response team have been nimble enough to react as new measures have been introduced by the government – and it is an effort which has been well-received in the community.
“We were meant to be going live with the project on the 26th March, but when stricter measures were introduced on the previous Monday our partners let us know that the need was there already,” she said.
“Over 60 volunteers have already stepped forward to support the community by shopping for and delivering essentials.
“The response we’ve had from the community has been great. I had a note from a 92-year-old man who didn’t know anybody in the area and was very worried. It’s lovely that we’re able to help people in his position.”
The Trust’s initiative may have been established to address the practical issues which have arisen from the government’s instructions, but Michelle is equally aware that the latest restrictions can have a significant psychological impact.
“We're also providing a a check in and chat scheme where people can buddy up and give each other a call to see how they’re coping," she said.
“A friendly phone call to check that people are okay, to share worries and to offer emotional support is a great way to stop them from feeling isolated. We're very aware of the loneliness that people could be suffering at this time.”
If you are in the Cotgrave area, have been advised to self-isolate, have no other support network and require essential support from the Cotgrave Community Response project, call 0115 969 9060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.