By now every household in our village should have had a leaflet like this through their letterbox. Its aim is to ensure that even our elderly and vulnerable residents, who’re not internet savvy, are aware of the help and support available in Ruddington to get them through the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.
As previously reported, it follows a ‘Community Call Up’ from Laura Ratcliffe of Ruddington Mums just over a week ago, when she asked residents who knew of any people in our village who would struggle, if required to self-isolate due to Coronavirus, to come forward. This would enable a list to be made for volunteers to check up on and help out such villagers – as well as the chance to volunteer to assist vulnerable residents themselves.
At last Saturday’s village surgery, in St Peter’s Rooms, Borough and Parish Councillors were delighted to see a non stop stream of villagers heading through the doors willing to offer help and information. This led to Rushcliffe Borough Cllr Jennifer Walker setting up a dedicated Facebook Group called Ruddington COVID-19 UK Mutual Aid and the creation of this printed leaflet to get the message across to the whole village. (If someone you know got missed out you can download the leaflet >>HERE<< and print it out.)
Cllr Walker stresses: “Our community group is being set up to support those who have no other friend or family member available to help. Please only use as a last resort so we can keep the virus as contained as possible over the next few weeks. Please also use the same ‘stranger danger’ approach you would in normal times. Get out and meet your neighbours now, in a safe socially distant way, because you will need each other in the weeks ahead!”
Sue Matthews of RVCP administered the hand delivery of the 3,000 leaflets this weekend – with over 200 volunteers now pledging to work together to help anyone who needs it. She says: “I have been overwhelmed by number of people who have volunteered to help in Ruddington. It’s the best community – working together!”
Pam Pearce, who is co-ordinating one volunteer group, agrees: “The response really has been amazing. I feel I have made new friends. Some have suggested setting up a What’s App group to support each other. People in our village are just so wonderful. The next stage is the actual support of those in need with food deliveries and maybe a chat (at a distance). I know this community will jump at the chance to help which is so heartening.”
One of her volunteers, Gemma Gretton, says: “This is a difficult time for everyone, some more than others, which is why it’s so important to come together as a community and support each other in any way we can. I love my village and am so proud of how we are responding to this crisis and ensuring that people get the support they need.”
Their leaflet delivery hasn’t come a moment to soon, since the NHS in England has just sent out letters and texts to people it has identified as “particularly vulnerable” who it recommends should now stay home at all times for twelve weeks – not going out for shopping, leisure or travel. Those “at risk” include people with specific cancers, severe respiratory conditions and individuals who have received organ transplants. The advice so far does not include anyone over 70, but that may follow soon…
Meantime, major retailers are continuing to reassure us there is plenty of food and other household essentials to go around if people just buy what they need. But, perhaps because of the perceived danger of being quarantined or put on lockdown, many shoppers are still panic buying and continue to clear some shelves at our two village supermarkets almost as quickly as they are filled.
Ruddington Co-op on Church Street has already been dedicating its first shopping hour for those at higher risk and the people who care for them. Customer Trevor Hackworth comments: “How refreshing this morning at the Co-op to see the shop open for pensioners and other vulnerable people. Even better, it was being policed by a member of staff. Still not a lot on the shelves but we managed to get what we wanted, apart from sugar, of all things. And no toilet rolls, yet again! Well done the Co-op and thank you for your efforts – it is appreciated.”
Now Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe says all its stores, including our own branch on Dutton’s Hill, will keep clear 8.00am to 9.00am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to serve only elderly and disabled shoppers and their carers.
In a letter to customers Mr Coupe also reveals: “Many of you have written to tell me that you like the idea of priority shopping for NHS workers and for elderly and disabled customers, but that these should be at different times. We have therefore decided to allow NHS and social care workers to shop in our supermarkets for half an hour before they open each day. So anyone with NHS ID will be able to shop from 7.30am to 8.00am every day from Monday to Saturday.” He adds: “We’re delighted to be able to offer priority shopping to all the hard-working NHS staff across the country who are working so hard to keep us all safe and well.”
In the next couple of days we’ll report on how our other Ruddington shops – and some hospitality businesses which have remained open for takeaways and deliveries for as long as they are allowed – are also reaching out to help villagers through the current pandemic.
Meantime there’s even more news about how the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak is changing life in Ruddington >>HERE<<.