01:17PM, Thursday 07 January 2021
Volunteers around Maidenhead are stepping up to help the community once again as the new lockdown has seen more younger people and families stuck at home than before.
After the Prime Minister announced the nation would once again be going into a full lockdown on Monday night, volunteer networks across Maidenhead – many of which have continued supporting the community since the first lockdown in March – kicked into overdrive.
With those with medical vulnerabilities once again asked to stay home and shield themselves, and an increased number of cases forcing more households to self-isolate – particularly families – organisations like Maidenhead’s Rotary clubs have been busy doing shopping, delivering parcels and collecting prescriptions.
According to Lisa Hunter, of Maidenhead Bridge Rotary, issues that were not experienced much in previous lockdowns are coming to the fore this time around.
She said: “In the last three days we have had contact from five new families that are needing help with food parcels and one that needed help paying their heating bills.
“People are struggling to pay their bills with people getting made redundant left, right and centre.
“The older people that had to shield last time kind of got themselves sorted, they got on board with online shopping and now its younger people and families that have been hit hard.
“If someone gets a case in their family, they all have to self isolate for 10 days, they can’t go anywhere.”
Lisa went on to urge anyone who was struggling during lockdown to get in touch.
“Our message to anyone, not just families but anyone on their own too, is if they’re struggling or need support, just reach out,” she said. “We have over 100 volunteers helping to do shopping, dog walks and picking up prescriptions.”
Meanwhile, Maidenhead United’s charitable arm, Magpies in the Community, has also seen an increase in calls to its phone lines, with a growing number of younger people and families seeking support in this lockdown.
Sasha Bardwell, who runs the service with Helen Park, said: “We never stopped since March, we have tried to carry on.
“Things did get a lot quieter but calls are coming through now, a lot of families have to self isolate.”
As well as coordinating a network of volunteers helping with shopping and prescriptions, volunteers from the Magpies have also been supporting the roll-out of the vaccine in Maidenhead, as have some of the rotary volunteers too.
At the Desborough Suite, in town hall, volunteers have been helping to deliver the vaccine rollout, checking in those set to receive their jabs and directing them to one of the seven bays in the room.
Before Christmas, about 800 people were vaccinated in the town hall over a three-day period.
Sasha said: “It’s been really enjoyable to help with the vaccines, after working from home you realise that you haven’t been able to chat to people as much.
“There are people who haven’t been out of the house since March, so a lot of them are quite nervous about being out.”
Maidenhead Rotary clubs and Magpies in the Community are just a few of many organisations helping out the community in the area during lockdown.
For more information on volunteering or support, visit maidenheadbridgerotary.org.uk or www.magpiesinthecommunity.org/ and visit bit.ly/35gWGJr to see the full list of COVID-support organisations operating in the Royal Borough.
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