Posted: 04.05.20 at 08:54 by Tim Lethaby
Glastonbury Coronavirus Support Network works to address the needs of those who are self-isolating, and more than 800 people have been helped already.
A diverse range of dedicated volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are helping the community
with shopping, prescription collection and telephone support.
More than 800 people have now been supported, often with routine requests and at times they have helped with very specific needs, such as collecting batteries for hearing aids, sourcing a freezer and help to find a cleaner.
Residents accessing the service say time and again that knowing that the service is available
has been a huge weight off their mind when they have felt completely isolated.
The co-ordination team are keen to ensure that Glastonbury residents are aware of the “positive
community response” among the hardship people are experiencing at present.
Many people have said that knowing people care has “lifted their spirits” at such a challenging time.
Tracey Robinson volunteers with her 17-year-old son, Azra - they are part of the shopping team
and they deliver the groceries to people’s doors. Azra is often described as a “lovely young man”
by the residents he has helped.
Tracey said: “I feel very lucky to be healthy and able to help, it helps me if I focus on what I can
do, rather than worry.
"This is what community is all about, to help each other. So many people are unable to go out - I feel lucky to have a mission, to feel a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
"I love that I can make even a small difference to someone's day. It’s a win-win.
"I've also met some lovely people - the other volunteers, the Glastonbury Coronavirus Support Network, supermarket staff, the people who we deliver to, everyone's been lovely.”
Kate Frapwell is another dedicated volunteer. She said: “I have always wanted to do more for my community and as I was actually gifted the time to prioritise helping others, I knew I had to use it well.
"It has been one of the most rewarding things I have done. Who knew buying carrots could be such a fulfilling experience?
"I love helping others, and this has been as rewarding for me as it has been a lifeline for those in our community who need a bit of help right now.
"Every other volunteer has been fantastic and it has been lovely to come together and work as a team. Each person I have delivered to has been so grateful, but honestly it’s a pleasure to do it.”
Steve Shaw was using his van to deliver items for the charity Children’s Society prior to the
pandemic, and he thought it might be helpful to turn his attention to the needs of local residents.
Now he is one of the drivers that deliver people’s shopping. He has also helped with prescription runs and a hospital trip.
Jay A’Lee is a local biker, he delivers people’s prescriptions and has helped countless people in
Glastonbury and the surrounding villages.
He said: “As soon as I was furloughed from work, the first thing I did is see if I could volunteer.
"I love feeling like I can do something to make a difference. I think it’s very easy to feel helpless at this time and the community is pulling together in a way I’ve never seen before.
"Everyone I have met so far has been so thankful for what we are doing. It has been a very humbling experience.”
There has also been some wonderful feedback from the community, such as from Ailsa Eactoe, who said: “What you are doing is wonderful, I don’t know what I would have done without
"I want everyone to know when this is over what you have done for the community, it is marvellous."
Another person who has been helped is Myra, who said: “I appreciate all the help, I appreciate the caring and thoughtful way that it is done and I am grateful to all the time that the volunteers give to it.”
Ex-soldier Richard Bonas, who is 82, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all you lovely people who are part of this wonderful Glastonbury Coronavirus Support Network Group.
"Thank you for all your help in doing my shopping and it is comforting to know you are all there.
"You are all doing such a magnificent job of working to help those of us who must stay at
home. Bless you all."
The group website www.glastonburycommunity.uk is a resource with information about the local community, including local suppliers, mental health support and details about the other volunteer groups in Somerset.
Residents can order their food via the website, payment is taken over the phone after they
receive their shopping.
As a completely independent community action group it is reliant on donations to source safety equipment for volunteers, keep a shopping float to pay for shopping up front and cover
If anyone wishes to donate to help assist the group to keep providing this vital community service they can donate via the website.