The pandemic saw the staff and volunteers at Audlem and District Community Action (ADCA) set up a Home Support Service, with existing and new volunteers happy to help those who were shielding or otherwise unable to venture out.
One of the key components of the new service was provided by Lisa Taylor, proprietor of Brambles Cookshop in Audlem. Unable to open her own store as normal, Lisa very kindly offered to use her business’s technology to collect card payments from residents whose shopping had been bought and delivered by ADCA volunteers,
ADCA Vice-Chair Phil Lloyd says: “Lisa’s help was invaluable, as we could not take payments by card, which was very necessary for local people who were unable to go out. She phoned them up with the cost of their shop and then sent the payments through to ADCA every couple of weeks. Lisa and her husband Adrian have always given great support to ADCA, but I can’t thank her enough for what she did for us during the pandemic. And Adrian also stepped forward to volunteer as a shopper!”
Audlem resident Cheryl Cooper was one of the many local people who became personal shoppers for housebound residents. Shopping lists and prescription requests were phoned in to ADCA’s hotline and Cheryl collected grocery items from the village shops and the Lord Combermere pub, which sold fresh fruit and vegetables as well as takeaway meals. She was one of the ADCA volunteers who collected and delivered prescription medicines from Boots, Audlem.
Keeping in contact with the housebound was a vital part of Cheryl’s role, as she recalls. “I’ve been able to check that those who have been most cut off from friends and families were coping both physically and mentally; this was particularly important around Christmas time to ensure that everyone had some human contact during the festive season. Whilst I have helped my local community, I also feel that I’ve made many friends and gained so much from the experience“.
Though many of ADCA’s usual services, such as its Tuesday lunch club for socially isolated elderly residents, had to cease during lockdowns, others such as the Medical Transport Service, were still much needed. New volunteers stepped forward to replace others who were now shielding and unable to drive and one of the new drivers was Keith Fell.
“Being unable to travel under the lockdown restrictions, I wanted to offer my help to the local community,” said Keith. “I’ve been driving people to get to appointments at the local GP surgery, at Leighton Hospital and more recently at Nantwich to attend their vaccination appointments. It’s been really good to be able to help out those who don’t have their own transport.”
Phil Lloyd added: “We were amazed and delighted at the number of new volunteers who came forward once the pandemic started. It’s a great reflection on Audlem and the surrounding villages and the sense of community spirit that exists. We are very grateful to them all for helping everyone to pull through a very difficult and challenging year.”