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THE work of the Melksham Community Support volunteers has been hailed as something the whole town should be proud of, by a local councillor.
Talking at this month’s Melksham Area Board meeting, cllr Nick Holder – who is also a Melksham Without Parish Councillor – said, “The Melksham community should be proud of the way the community has stepped forward to support each other during the pandemic.”
Summarising the work of the volunteers so far, cllr Holder described the figures as “impressive”. He highlighted that over 500 people have offered to help the scheme; which has also received over 3,500 calls for help to its support line.
The scheme, which is managed by Age Friendly Melksham, has also made over 1,400 ‘friendly phone calls’ to isolated residents – with 41 people receiving regular welfare ‘friendly phone calls’.
However, it was noted by cllr Holder that the number of residents receiving regular phone calls could be higher as some volunteers have stopped reporting back to Age Friendly Melksham as they feel they are phoning a friend, and are no longer a ‘volunteer’.
“It’s put people in touch with new friends and these friendships will last much longer than when we come out of lockdown,” said cllr Holder.
“It’s fantastic that people have been prepared to make that leap from volunteer to becoming a friend.”
It was also explained that plans to expand the ‘friendly phone call’ service with a ‘Face2Face’ service – which will help isolated residents connect with relatives via video calls – were on hold due to current national lockdown restrictions, as volunteers are unable to enter a person’s house.
However, once the service is up and running, cllr Holder described it as another step towards “breaking down” the barriers that isolation brings to some vulnerable residents living alone.
If you are looking for support, please call 01225 809265. Or you can request support – or volunteer to help – by visiting the website: www.melkshamcommunity.co.uk