Brilliant community efforts praised

June 30 2020

PEOPLE in Kingswood have stepped up to support one another during the three months of the coronavirus peak.

The COVID-19 BS15 - Kingswood support group was set up on Facebook by Councillor Andrea Reid before lockdown was announced. She knew that due to the high number of elderly residents the area could be badly hit by the pandemic, and decided to set up a service to support people with food shopping, prescriptions collections, dog walking, food parcels, as well as providing assistance to parents who have children with special needs.

Andrea told the Voice she had been massively overwhelmed by the response to the group and the generosity that residents have shown. Sixty people signed up to volunteer in just two days.

She said: “The success of the group is down to all of our volunteers and partners. Due to my background in community development, I knew that if the peak would be as bad as in other regions, our small local services could be swamped with demand, and I wanted to do something to help.

“I enlisted the help of Vicky Robinson, a volunteer who previously worked as a care manager, and we spoke to the local foodbank, community transport team and other local groups to find out how we could support them during this time. We then set up the Facebook group and things took off from there!

Andrea Reid, who set up a network of volunteers

“At the beginning I was on the phone for at least 13 hours a day, dealing with queries from volunteers, the council, chemists and doctors surgeries, as well as just having lots of chats and giggles with residents. 

“I’ve heard lots of amazing stories, and have especially enjoyed speaking to an 82 year old woman who told me that
she usually plays badminton several times a week and was missing it. In addition, we were also able to help a man who recently moved into a flat with his two dogs. It was completely unfurnished and he had no food, but after we put out a message on Facebook we were able to fully furnish it with donations within 24 hours. 

“People also provided food and Tollgate Hire donated a van for the job. I can’t describe the pride I have in the people of Kingswood and the service has proved that when comes to the crunch, people will be there for each other.

 “Even though lockdown is easing, people are still shielding, I don’t want residents to think that the group is winding down. Help is still available and volunteers are very much still needed, especially as some of our previous volunteers have started going back to work. We plan to carry on the support group for a long time, so if you do need help or would like to volunteer then please don’t hesitate to contact us.”

To contact the COVID-19 BS15 - Kingswood support group and to find out more about their work, call 0808 164 1047 or visit www.bs15-support.org.