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22 May 2020

When the UK looked very likely to head into lockdown, one of the MIS-AMS team quickly took up the role of becoming his community’s superhero during the pandemic.

Keith, who lives in leafy Moulton, alongside fellow self-volunteers, set up a Covid19 Community Support group and has quickly turned his support and implementation skills from software to his village’s streets. The group, that is still running, has added to the overall community spirit of the village and helped to bring its residents together. Keith tells us all:

“Early on in the Covid19 outbreak, when it became evident that older people and those that were considered to be vulnerable would have to self-isolate, myself and my wife, Pam, thought we would do something to try and support those groups.  There was a standard leaflet doing the rounds on Facebook, so we took that, edited it slightly (to make it more personal) and hand delivered it to people in our road and the one next to us which consists mainly of pensioners.  On the leaflet were contact details for us directly, plus for a new WhatsApp group that we had set up for everyone to keep in contact with each other.

“Over the next few days it became evident on social media that others in our village had had the very same idea. So, we set about those involved coming together (virtually) to form a leader’s group, and make sure that all streets in the village of Moulton were covered. We also wanted to ensure that each person had someone they could contact should the need anything due to self-isolation or being in one of the vulnerable categories. 

“Initially we set out to do food shopping for people and collect prescriptions from pharmacies (long cold queues in the first week) and this has continued though things have developed.

“From this point things started to escalate further. One of the other group leaders is an Olio representative and gets leftover fresh food from supermarkets for distribution to community groups, with this it was decided to set up a virtual picnic in the village on 5 April.  Volunteers made sandwiches and soup, and they were packaged along with bread, crisps and snacks for all those that we knew were self-isolating.  These were then distributed by each of the 20 or so leaders within their streets.  On that afternoon around 100 homes received a picnic, those in our streets also received scones and cakes that had been baked by neighbours.

“Since then a community foodhub has been setup. Similar to a foodbank, donations are received at various locations (including my home) which in turn are centralised on a Friday and packaged up and distributed to those self-isolating, that do not qualify for a Government food parcel, on a Saturday morning.  This has been running now for a couple of weeks. We also threw another virtual picnic on Friday 8th May to celebrate VE Day. This included a competition for the best decorated street!

“I’ve lived in Moulton now for two and a half years and in that time, it’s become quite clear that the village has a great community spirit, this has just added to that. It has also repaired some residents’ quarrels, with those that have had differences in the past, putting those aside to come together and support one another.”

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