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Cookham SOS supports community through coronavirus

People in the Cookhams are being supported through the coronavirus pandemic by about 39 groups of volunteers who form Cookham SOS Community Support.

The Facebook group was started by Cookham resident Jus Moody, who runs the social media platform Cookham Edit.

Jus said: “It was evident that there was a growing number of people offering help in their own communities but the information posts were scattered across many platforms and groups.

“My initial aim was to form a portal for the information to sit under one hat.”

About 275 volunteers have been divided into the 39 groups to ensure people in every street of the Cookhams have all they need, from food and prescriptions, to a dog walking service and the offer of a friendly telephone call.

Adult day centre Elizabeth House, in Station Hill, was initially the hub of the Cookham SOS project.

When the charity had to close its doors because of the COVID-19 pandemic, trustees donated the building and the day centre’s resources, including staff and telephones, to support the group.

Although Elizabeth House has since had to close completely, the same support continues to be provided by the team, who work from home.

Cookham Voluntary Services, usually based at Elizabeth House, which provides transport for local people to access medical appointments, also continues to serve the community.

Trustee of Elizabeth House, Michael Clark, said the day centre has also ‘been able to build a modest emergency fund, sufficient to support Cookham SOS’ in its endeavours.

Miriam Blazey, manager of Elizabeth House, says the project is supporting about 80 of the day centre’s 200 members.

Another 40 members, who are based in Maidenhead, are being looked after by the Al-Tawheed Islamic Education Centre in Cookham Road, and the rest are managing with family directly, or indirectly with online shopping deliveries.

She said: “From the reports back from the staff and volunteers, the members are doing remarkably well, with some managing to Facetime with family, teach grandchildren new skills over Zoom chats and celebrate birthdays.

“They all miss Elizabeth House dreadfully though.”

As a resident of Bourne End, Miriam was also aware of a number of good neighbour initiatives people were trying to get off the ground in the area, and in Wooburn Green.

Taking the Cookham SOS model, Miriam and a number of other volunteers have now established ‘Bourne End and Wooburn Green SOS’ to help people through the COVID-19 outbreak.

To find out more about both groups search on Facebook for Bourne End and Wooburn Green SOS, and Cookham SOS.

A JustGiving page has been set up to help urgent supplies for the community of Cookham here.

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