It has been almost 4 months since we closed our doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Very quickly we had to postpone all of our groups, courses and any upcoming activities planned. At the time we didn’t know how long this would be for and I think we all felt quite confident that it wouldn’t be long until we could welcome everyone back to the Community Centre but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case.
We have been extremely busy over the past 4 months and our staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to keep everything going to ensure we can continue to support the community. We have been very lucky to have had financial support from some wonderful funders who have helped us with some core costs and project costs too.
At the beginning of lockdown our staff and volunteers delivered flyers to lots of local houses and any businesses still open advertising that we could help people and that we would still be here doing what we could during this difficult time.
Very early on we found that the main need was a shopping service and food parcels for older people and families. With the panic buying that we saw across the country local people found that they couldn’t access the basic things they needed for their meals at home. We worked with Brighter Living Partnership to offer a contactless shopping service for those who who were shielding and self isolating. To date WACA have completed approximately 88 shops for local people and this is an ongoing project with many of the people we shop for continuing to shield until the end of July.
The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre generously donated a large amount of non perishable food, along with Tesco Formby (through the FareShare scheme) who we collect from weekly enabling us to provide a mixture of fresh and non perishable food parcels for local people. To date we have delivered approximately 155 parcels to local older people and families. These parcels were packed and delivered by local volunteers.
As the days and weeks passed and we continued to make weekly contact with our members and members of the community for welfare checks and to see how everyone has been coping and we discovered that a lot of people were fed up, feeling a bit low and desperate to resume their normal routines. We came up with the idea to provide these people with activity packs to keep them busy and with funding from The FPC Foundation Ainsdale and Tesco Bags of Help we were able to deliver 160 of these activity parcels to older people. They included puzzle books, jigsaws, cakes, recipes and a plant and we have been overwhelmed by the positive response we have had from these parcels. These were packed and delivered by staff and local volunteers.
The comments we have received from these parcels has been wonderful and we would like to share some of those with you:
“How delighted I was to see you outside my door. What a nice surprise it was to see a different face, ‘cos I have missed you, your team and the CBX ladies”
“Many thanks once again for these gifts, and to know that at this time of uncertainty that there are people that are kind and willing to help”
“Thank you so much for the parcel you have delivered, it is nice to know that we have not been forgotten”
“Just a quick message to say thank you so much for my mums lovely parcel yesterday- she was really touched and it made her day. With us not living nearby It means a lot to know you are looking out for her, so thank you on behalf of my brother and I”
We have also worked closely with the Wellbeing Support Officer, Activities Co-ordinator and the National Health and Wellbeing Manager at Riverside’s Retirement Living Scheme to provide activity and food parcels to the older people living in The Orchards.
We have also had some fantastic support from local young people who have made art work, written letters and given us tokens that they have made to put in food parcels and shopping bags. This has really put a smile on everyone’s face and it is wonderful to see these pieces displayed in windows and on doors as we walk and drive around the estate.
We continue to support our community during this time of need and are here to help in any way that we can. We also work closely with many other local organisations who have fantastic services so if we are unable to support you we may know someone who can.