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AS the whole country changed in devastating ways last week, affecting every aspect of people’s lives in an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus, Melksham’s community was quick to respond, to help local residents, especially those who are most vulnerable, during the crisis.
People knocked on other residents’ doors or left a note, offering to do shopping or other help, and online groups were formed to coordinate volunteers with those who need help at this time.
Amidst the panic buying in supermarkets, there were stories of individual acts of kindness to others.
And a dedicated advice and support service for people affected by the coronavirus pandemic has been launched by Melksham’s local councils, working hard to ensure the elderly and most vulnerable in the community are looked after.
The service, for anyone who may be unable or worried to leave their home, is offering help with daily tasks such as shopping, dog walking, and picking up prescriptions. It can also help anyone feeling lonely or isolated by providing someone to talk to.
Volunteers who are willing and able to help others in the community with daily tasks or be a listening ear over the phone, can also contact the service to register their details.
The service – which has been set up by Melksham Town Council, Melksham Without Parish Council, and the Melksham Area Board – can be contacted via a dedicated telephone number and email address. A dedicated website with up-to-date information has also been launched.
The ‘Melksham Community’ service says, “Are you unable or worried to leave your home because of Covid-19 (coronavirus)? Do you need someone to talk to, walk the dog, run errands, do your shopping, deliver some essential supplies, pick up your prescription etc?
“We aren’t asking for anything in return, we just want to support our community in a time of difficulty. We are your local councils working together to support the community.
“Or are you a good neighbour looking to help out? We need wonderful volunteers who are happy to help people who are in isolation!
“Would you be able to be someone to talk to, walk a dog, run errands, do some shopping, deliver essential supplies or pick up a prescription etc?
“We can’t offer you anything in return, except our grateful thanks and a heap of feel-good factor! There’s lots that needs doing and we are grateful for any help you can offer.”
A joint message from the town council’s mayor, cllr Jon Hubbard; Melksham Without Parish Council’s chair, Richard Wood; and chair of the Melksham Area Board, cllr Jonathon Seed, said, “We are in unprecedented times and your area board, the town and parish councils across the community area are working together to support our community.
“We have been overwhelmed by the community response to the challenges of Covid-19, and the number of volunteers who have pledged their time and support to help those in need.
“As local councils, we are working on a co-ordinated response to make sure that those who need support receive it and we maximise the effectiveness of our volunteers, whilst at the same time ensuring our most vulnerable and isolated residents are safe.
“Finally, we would like to say a huge thank you to those who have already taken the initiative and set yourselves up as community organisers; and so that the community effort continues in all circumstances we are urging you to share with us your database of volunteers so they are all in one central point.
To contact the service call 01225 809265; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit https://melkshamcommunity.co.uk
The councils are also asking residents to check on their neighbours, particularly the elderly and vulnerable. Check in with them, pop a note through their door to give them your number, make sure you have theirs and know that they can call you if you are needed.
And remember even if you are isolated at home there are ways that you can continue to support your neighbours, your family, your community – keep spirits up and most of all talk to each other.