04:29PM, Wednesday 18 March 2020
‘Politics has gone out of the window’ in Maidenhead as people in the community band together to support each other during the coronavirus outbreak.
As the virus continues to spread across the UK, many people have stepped up to help the most vulnerable people, and those stranded at home while they have self-isolated.
A number of ‘emergency volunteer’ and ‘SOS’ Facebook groups have formed in Maidenhead and the surrounding villages, with people sharing public health information, offering to pick up shopping for each other and offering to walk dogs for those who cannot do so.
Cllr Helen Taylor (TBF, Oldfield), who created the groups ‘Maidenhead Community Emergency Volunteers’ and ‘Maidenhead Community Volunteer Group’, along with Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s) described how everyone is working together during these uncertain times.
She said: “It’s all a bit doom and gloom at the moment so we wanted to put a bit of positive spirit into things.
“At the moment all the group admins are all linked up with each other and we are all trying to coordinate so everyone has the same information and the right information.
“We realise there will be cases where unfortunately people will try and take advantage, so we’re keeping it with the councillors and people that we can trust.”
Members of some of the groups are now getting organised and will be offering support to those who need it within the coming days.
Meanwhile, the group Cox Green SOS is in the process of setting up a support contact for every street so people know who to call if they need help.
Other pages that have been created include Cookham SOS, Maidenhead covid-19 mutual aid group, and several more, many of which had 500 or more members at the time the Advertiser went to press. Multiple groups have also been set up in the Windsor area.
On the public’s response to the community effort, Cllr Taylor said: “It’s amazing.
“It just goes to show that we have all got that British spirit when times are tough.
“Politics has gone out of the window.
“We are all pulling together, we are just trying to get the right information because there’s a lot of wrong information out there.”
Maidenhead Bridge Rotary Club has offered to help those who are stuck at home self isolating.
The volunteers have offered to do people’s shopping for them, collect medication, post letters, or just give them a phone call to help brighten their day.
Lisa Hunter, project coordinator and member of Maidenhead Bridge Rotary, said: “Our worry is that people are being told to self-isolate for two weeks and at the end of that we find out that they haven’t had any food to eat or any friendly support.
“We want to make sure everybody has got somebody to keep them supplied.”
Those seeking to lend a hand and volunteer can fill in the online form at www.maidenheadbridgerotary.org.uk/covid-19- response-project
Maidenhead’s faith groups are also stepping up to help those most in need in the community.
Sikh groups in the area have compiled a list of vulnerable members and have volunteers looking to lend a helping hand.
Meanwhile, Maidenhead’s churches have sent out advice newsletters to parishioners with public health advice and encouraging them to shop responsibly.
Parishioners attending Eucharist at All Saints Church, Boyn Hill, were encouraged to notice people who were ‘missing’ and to try and reach out to them.
Pastoral care team members have also been given lists of vulnerable people on the church’s electoral roll to contact and offer to help with shopping.
Businesses in the area have also been stepping in to offer help to the community.
Bakedd cafe in High Street is offering to deliver bread to elderly residents forced to stay at home.
Those in need can call 01628 299303 and place an order for a white crusty loaf.
The council is providing updates for residents and businesses at https://www3.rbwm.gov.uk/news/article/400/covid19_resident_and_business_update_page
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