Posted: 06.01.21 at 09:04 by Philippa Davies
As another national lockdown begins, Sid Valley Help are telling local residents ‘we’re here for you’.
The group have been working with local charities to support those in need since the first lockdown in March last year, and as the latest restrictions take hold, they're ready to step up their activities again.
Di Fuller, the chair of the Sid Valley Help trustees, said: “We’re here still, if people need urgent help with prescriptions or shopping.
“With prescriptions we’re encouraging people to use the pharmacies’ delivery service, but if it’s urgent, we’ll always pick them up.
“And anyone who’s really feeling the loneliness of being locked down yet again, contact us and we’ve got people who’ll happily phone them once or twice a week for a chat.”
She added that there is currently a problem with getting deliveries of shopping ordered online, and if anyone needed short-term help, they should get in touch.
In Sidmouth, the Temple Street Spar shop, Wookbrook News and The Dairy Shop are all offering home deliveries to those who cannot visit them in person.
Sid Valley Help has seen a surge in demand for its support during the pandemic, and a change in the way it works.
When the first lockdown was announced, around 400 households asked for help.
The need for practical assistance levelled out over time, but throughout the pandemic people have suffered from loneliness and isolation, and been helped by the befriending services offered by volunteers.
Mrs Fuller said: “What’s happened is, we’ve had to recruit masses more volunteers to sustain the ongoing work that we’ve picked up.
“In the last 12 months Sid Valley Help’s changed quite radically in terms of the number of volunteers we’ve got, and we see that as a permanent fixture of the charity, working much more widely with those who are vulnerable and need ongoing support with shopping and managing their loneliness.”
She explained that because of the rapidly developing situation earlier this year and the need to take on extra volunteers, Sid Valley Help has only recently been able to provide the DBS checks and training that would normally be offered right at the start.
A £500 grant from local councillor Stuart Hughes’s locality budget has helped pay for the checks, along with an online training package on safeguarding and working with vulnerable adults.
Mrs Fuller said: “Sid Valley Help is very grateful for the continued support that the town council gives us, and also Stuart Hughes from his county locality budget.
“We work closely with the town council, they’re amazingly supportive. I think the town council has been very, very supportive of all the small charities in the town.”
To contact Sid Valley Help, call 01395 892 011 or mobile 07378 964521, or email [email protected]