How volunteers are helping their community even as lockdown lifts

This story was published 14 August 2020

During the pandemic, people across the county have been lifted up and supported by an army of local volunteers doing everything from delivering food and prescriptions to simply being a friendly face.

Diane Richards a volunteer for Stokesley and District CCA delivering shopping

Despite lockdown measures lifting, this support will carry on to help people back into normal life.

The 23 Community Support Organisations North Yorkshire County Council has worked with across the county during the pandemic are turning their attentions to getting people eased back into normal day-to-day life with confidence.

Through teamwork and togetherness in the community, these organisations and volunteers have ensured no-one slips through the cracks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gary Fielding, Corporate Director for Strategic Resources, said: “The effort volunteers on the ground have gone to during the pandemic is fantastic.

“The community spirit we’ve seen during the unprecedented circumstances of Covid-19 has been one major success.

“From individuals checking in with their friends and family, to neighbours looking out for neighbours and our community support hubs, the spirit of looking out for each other has been strong.

“It’s incredibly important that this support is continuing as lockdown begins to lift and the ‘new normal’ falls into place to support people to getting back on their feet.”

Anyone who needs to arrange help can contact the County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

Find more information about help for people during isolation.

Phil Henderson, manager at the Stokesley and District Community Care Association, told us how they are supporting people back into everyday life after lockdown.

The Stokesley and District Community Care Association is a hub which is continuing to support the elderly, vulnerable or those who simply need a bit of extra support right beyond lockdown.

Throughout the pandemic, an army of volunteers delivered prescriptions and food to those who needed it.

They are continuing to do that for those who need it, but also taking people to medical appointments and starting up their befriending service again physically to ease people back into normal life once more.

Phil Henderson said: “The CSO set up through North Yorkshire County Council has been very good for us, we slotted into it nicely and were already helping a lot of people.

“When lockdown started, a lot of our volunteers were over 70 so they stopped going out and about doing things like prescription deliveries – but 50 new people came forward and wanted to help, which was amazing.

“We’ve done around 500 prescription deliveries and 280 food deliveries so far.”

Phil added that as lockdown begins to lift, the focus will be on continuing to support members of the community who need it by building confidence in getting back outside.

He said that part of this will involve more transport to medical appointments (while adhering to social distancing guidelines) but also the befriending service, which has run through lockdown, will begin to return to physical meetings.

He said: “Instead of just phoning people to talk, some of our volunteers have started doing visits in the garden – providing they are all happy with that and follow government guidance.

“It’s not just about delivering things physically but helping with the confidence and loneliness side of things, too.”

Phil added that the most satisfying thing for him has been when teamwork means that everything slots into place and a job gets done – along with helping his community.

He said: “We’ve had an incredibly positive reaction to what we’ve been doing.”